The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and CJ Air, LLC, an aerial pesticide applicator based in Nezperce, ID, have reached a settlement over a pesticide container disposal case that occurred on the Nez Perce Reservation in July 2018. EPA alleges that the containers were not rinsed according to labeling instructions and still contained toxic pesticide residue at the time of disposal.
Pesticide product labels provide critical instructions about how to safely and legally handle and use pesticide products including proper disposal of containers. Unlike most other types of product labels, pesticide labels are legally enforceable. In other words, the label is the law. In this case, the label requires users to follow specific rinsing procedures prior to disposing of empty containers. Failure to properly rinse and dispose of pesticide containers – especially those containing “restricted use” pesticides – can cause environmental damage and harm people, pets and wildlife.
Restricted use pesticides are not available for purchase or use by the general public because they have the greatest potential to cause serious harm to the environment and injury to applicators or bystanders if used improperly. Availability and use of such products are restricted to applicators with special training and in some cases, those under their direct supervision.
An inspector with the Coeur d’Alene Tribal Pesticide Enforcement Circuit Rider Program responded to a complaint that pesticide containers had been improperly disposed of in two publicly accessible dumpsters on the Nez Perce Reservation. The unrinsed containers created a noticeable odor and some of them contained restricted use pesticide residue.
When made aware of the situation, CJ Air promptly retrieved the unrinsed containers and rinsed them according to label instructions. As part of the settlement, CJ Air agreed to pay a $5,400 penalty.
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For more information about how to properly dispose of used pesticide containers in Idaho, please visit: https://agri.idaho.gov/main/56-2/pesticides/pesticide-disposal/