The Investigation and Compliance Section performs investigations related to the feed, fertilizer and pesticide programs. These cases could involve product distribution, storage, use, disposal or environmental contamination.
The Compliance Section has 14 Environmental Enforcement Specialists (EES), an Investigation Program Manager, a Supervisor, and a Section Chief, who conduct and oversee inspections and investigations for the ACM Bureau. In 2012 there were a number of staff changes within the compliance section including a recruitment of the Section Chief, recruitment of the supervisor (who subsequently resigned in late 2012), resignation of one EES and recruitment of three EES positions.
In 2012, the section conducted a total of 216 investigations. The 216 investigations include the following types of cases:118 pesticide (ATCP 29), seven feed, nine remediation, thirteen containment, 62 license enforcement, two groundwater, three fertilizer/soil & plant additive, and two toxic response. Of the 216 total investigations, 162 (75%) had documented violations.
Violations may result in actions ranging from verbal warnings to court action invoking civil or criminal penalties depending on the statutory authorities in the program area. All civil or criminal cases conducted by the section are prosecuted by the district attorney in the county where the violation occurred. A majority of the formal enforcement actions are conducted by the section through stipulated settlements, with court documents being prepared by the section. Table 1 shows the number and type of enforcement actions taken during 2012. In 2012, 24 cases were delivered to a district attorney for prosecution. These cases may include investigations from previous years. Numerous 2012 enforcement cases are in process, so these numbers do not reflect the total enforcement actions that will result from the 2012 investigations.
The department assigns the highest response priority to complaints involving human exposure to pesticides. In 2012, staff investigated eight cases involving potential human exposure to pesticides and determined pesticide exposure to a human occurred in three cases, one from a landscape pesticide application and two from structure misapplications.
In 2012, the section investigated 67 complaints involving alleged pesticide drift. The department documented drift violations in 29 cases, for a 42% violation rate. Of the 29 cases where DATCP documented drift violations, DATCP determined agricultural applications were the source of the drift in 17 cases.
Three example compliance actions
- A Wisconsin commercial landscape company paid a civil forfeiture of $3,500.00, which included courts costs for violations related to the commercial use of pesticides. DATCP investigated and documented that the firm directed an employee that was not individually licensed or certified as a commercial pesticide applicator to make commercial pesticide applications. The firm also failed to maintain the required pesticide application records and did not provide post-application information to their customer.
- A Wisconsin commercial feed manufacturer paid a fine and pleaded guilty for manufacturing and distributing a commercial medicated feed that was adulterated and misbranded. DATCP investigated and documented that the firm manufactured and distributed a custom-mixed medicated feed to a Wisconsin producer that included a medication that was not approved for the species and the labeling provided to the customer did not include the required direction for the safe and effective use of the feed. The feed was alleged to have caused the death of over 62,000 individual birds.
- A Wisconsin retail firm paid a civil forfeiture of $2,753.00, which included court costs for violations related to the sale and distribution of restricted-use pesticides. A routine DATCP inspection revealed the violations and the subsequent DATCP investigation documented the firm had distributed and sold restricted–use pesticides to two uncertified agricultural producers and also failed to maintain complete sales records regarding these transactions.
Direction for the Coming Year
We are continuing with the development and implementation of updated policies and procedures for compliance and other programs areas. In addition, the section continues to experience staffing changes in 2013. Training and providing necessary tools (such as revised inspection forms and updated policies and procedures) for new staff as well as seasoned staff will be a priority.
For more information about any of the bureau programs you may email the department.
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