EPA reaches settlement with Rockwood Chemical over infractions


BRAWLEY —  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced a settlement with Rockwood Chemical Company over an improperly stored and labeled agricultural pesticide at its facility in Brawley, Thursday, June 8. The company, a pesticide re-packager and distributor, will pay a $50,929 civil penalty and has corrected all identified compliance issues.

“Rockwood Chemical Company would like to announce that we took immediate action to correct all areas of the concern U.S. EPA had at our local facility in Brawley, CA,” said Frank Miranda, President of Rockwood Chemical Company.

The California Department of Pesticide Regulation inspected the Brawley facility in 2016. Based on those inspections, EPA asserted multiple violations under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), which regulate the storage, labeling, distribution, sale, and use of pesticides in the U.S.

“All types of violations—from improper containment areas to poor recordkeeping—can lead to spills or leaks of pesticides,” said Alexis Strauss, EPA’s Acting Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “Facilities that produce or refill pesticides must follow federal requirements to protect their workers, the public, and the environment.”

“Rockwood Chemical Company began full compliance measures immediately following the inspection and cooperated fully with U.S. EPA.” Miranda said. “We appreciate the efforts of U.S. EPA in cooperating with us to address all identified compliance issues in a timely manner.”

Rockwood repackages and distributes Eptam 7E, an herbicide that is injected into soil or applied through irrigation systems.  In humans, it is a nerve signal disruptor and harmful if swallowed, inhaled, or absorbed through the skin, the EPA news release said.

The inspection found that Rockwood did not have a proper containment pad in the area where trucks park to refill its bulk pesticide storage tank, according to the release. Containment pads are required at such facilities to intercept leaks and spills.

“Rockwood Chemical Company takes worker, public, and environmental safety seriously and will continue to operate in a manner consistent with all County, State, and Federal guidelines,” Miranda stated.