Investigation and Compliance
The Investigation and Compliance Section performs investigations related to the feed, fertilizer and pesticide programs. These cases can involve product distribution, storage, use, disposal and environmental contamination.
The 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 2014 there were a number of staff changes within the compliance section, including recruitment of the section supervisor, the retirement of an EES with over 35 years of field experience, completion of two EES territory transfers, and the successful recruitment of two new EES staff members who began employment on January 4, 2015.
In 2014, the section conducted a total of 107 investigations involving these types of cases: 84 pesticide, 6 feed, 5 remediation, 2 containment, 4 license enforcement, 4 groundwater, 1 toxic response (pesticide), and 1 worker protection (pesticide).
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 2014. In 2014, 71 cases were delivered to the county district attorney offices for prosecution and subsequently were filed and closed by the counties. These cases may include investigations from previous years. Numerous 2014 enforcement cases are still in process, so these numbers do not reflect the total enforcement actions that will result from the 2014 investigations.
The department assigns the highest response priority to complaints involving human exposure to pesticides. In 2014, staff investigated three cases involving potential human exposure to pesticides. These three investigations included one agricultural ground application, one aerial agricultural application and one structural application. DATCP documented violations in one of the three investigations. In 2014, the section investigated 34 complaints involving alleged pesticide drift, with 22 of the complaints involving agricultural applications.
Selected 2014 Compliance Actions
- As the result of a call from the Better Business Bureau, DATCP completed an investigation and determined a structural pesticide application company was operating as a commercial pesticide application business without having obtained a pesticide business location license for multiple years. DATCP also found the company had recordkeeping violations and failed to provide customers with complete pre- and post-application information. The defendant agreed to a stipulated settlement that required a $1,000 forfeiture.
- As the result of a pesticide spill, DATCP completed an investigation and determined that a commercial pesticide application company made multiple applications of agricultural pesticides containing atrazine to fields located within atrazine-use prohibition areas over two years. The defendant agreed to a stipulated settlement that required a forfeiture totaling $9,923.50.
- As the result of a complaint, DATCP completed an investigation and determined that a landscape firm that commercially applies pesticides had employed an individual to act as a commercial pesticide applicator who was not individually licensed or certified, failed to maintain complete commercial pesticide application records, failed to provide complete post-application information to the customer, failed to provide post-application information to the customer immediately upon completing applications and failed to present a written offer to provide pre-application information to customers. The defendant agreed to a stipulated settlement that required a forfeiture totaling $3,431.50.
- As the result of a complaint, DATCP completed an investigation and determined a commercial pesticide application company made an application of the pesticide Roundup PowerMAX® to a field that was not controlled by its customer and had been planted to conventional corn. Upon discovering the error, the application firm did not notify the grower of the incident, and so failed to provide the necessary post-application precautionary language to the grower. The defendant agreed to a stipulated settlement that required the Defendant pay a forfeiture totaling $1,445.50.
Direction for the Coming Year
We continue to develop and assist in the development of updated policies and procedures for compliance and other programs areas. Providing training and job shadowing opportunities to environmental enforcement specialists will continue for all program areas, but especially to allow for the successful completion of initial EPA credential training for 6 of the 14 EES staff members
For more information about any of the bureau programs you may email the department.
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