Prepare for Final Changes to Federal Pesticide Container Rule

Prepare for Final Changes to Federal Pesticide Container Rule

Changes kick in Aug. 16.

Pesticide applicators or buyers who purchase product in bulk tanks or containers should be aware of Aug. 16, the effective date of changes to federal pesticide container regulations, remind officials with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.

"The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency published a new pesticide container rule in 2006 with portions of the rule becoming effective at future dates," explained Mark McCloskey, DATCP investigation program manager. "The final changes are set to take effect on Aug. 16."

Although this is a federal rule, the state agriculture department will be responsible for inspections related to rule compliance. However, any enforcement actions will be handled by the EPA.

End users of pesticides need to be aware of three major points:

Is the pesticide tank or container refillable or non-refillable?

*Who owns the tank?

Non-refillable tanks are also known as single-use tanks. Starting in August, the EPA will require this description to be listed on the pesticide label. Be aware that single-use or non-refillable tanks become the property of the pesticide purchaser. EPA also requires that these single-use tanks not be reused or refilled. The pesticide label will instruct the owner of the container to offer it for recycling.

"We're aware of the possibility and temptation for end users to not follow label directions and find other uses for these non-refillable containers," McCloskey said. "Remember, the label is the law and when the label states that the container cannot be refilled or re-used for any other purpose, unauthorized uses are a label violation."

The end-user is responsible for the appropriate disposal of single-use containers. End users should check the side of the container for a toll-free number for recycling information or contact their dealer or product manufacturer.

Refillable tanks or multiple-use tanks are not owned by the end user, but by the supplier. The refillable container is intended to be used and returned to the supplier. Again, the pesticide label will indicate if the product has been packaged into a refillable container.

"When you choose a supplier who uses refillable tanks or containers, the tanks will have one-way valves and/or tamper evident devices on all tank openings except for vents," McCloskey explained. "Tamper evident devices may be as simple as a proprietary zip tie or tape."

The EPA requires these tamper evident devices or one-way valves to ensure the integrity of distributed pesticide products. Many product fillers are developing their own policies that outline potential consequences for the purchaser if a tank valve is damaged. 

"We encourage end users to talk with their dealer so no one is surprised by the potential consequences of returning a refillable container with damaged seals or compromised one-way valves," McCloskey said.

In conclusion, who owns the tanks and how the tanks are handled is changing. As a pesticide purchaser, check to see if you will, or will not, own a specific tank. In addition, read the pesticide label to understand what you must do to comply with the tank disposal and recycling requirements. 

For more information, visit our department website at http://datcp.state.wi.us then search on "pesticide container." Or, visit the Environmental Protection Agency site at www.epa.gov/pesticides/regulating/containers.htm for additional fact sheets and brochures related to this rule. Your pesticide dealer or farm supplier is also a good source of information on refillable or non-refillable pesticide containers.

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