According to the EPA an agricultural-farm company has agreed to pay a fine of $65,248 for alleged violations of Federal pesticide storage and handling requirements. One of them was for a small 12-inch hole in the floor of a building used to store chemicals.

What Were the EPA Allegations?

During inspections at JR Simplot plants in Hermiston, Oregon and Moreland, Idaho, EPA officials said there was a hole in the floor of one building used to store pesticides, and in Idaho, two large containers had leaks which allowed some chemicals to spill onto the floor of their outdoor containment, according to the EPA.

In the Hermiston case, EPA officials apparently did not find any leaks but said the 12-inch floor in the hole of the storage building could result, if there were any leaks, in pesticides leaking through onto the ground underneath the building.

The pesticides in question were Gramoxone SL 2.0 and Vydate in Hermiston.

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It may appear the penalties were rather stiff, especially in the Hermiston case, but according to the EPA, Federal laws are rather stringent. The EPA said:

"Under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, discharge outlets and gravity drains through the base or wall of an existing containment structure must be sealed to prevent migration of pesticides outside of the structure and minimize the possibility of environmental harm."

Apparently, Federal officials were concerned a potential leak through the 12-inch hole in the floor could possibly contaminate groundwater in the area; if enough pesticide were to actually leak from the building. According to the EPA report, no mention made of any actual leaks in Hermiston.


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