IMPERIAL COUNTY —Today, the Imperial County Agricultural Commissioner’s Office, with funding from the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), held a pesticide collection and disposal event to assist Imperial County growers with proper disposal of unwanted and outdated pesticides. Containers and the materials they hold will often degrade over time due to exposure to conditions such as high temperatures. Periodic collection of these stored containers ensures safe disposal of these products before they can become a hazard. More than 30 local growers participated in today’s collection event.
“It’s wonderful to see the turnout and participation we witnessed today from our farming community,” said District 2 Supervisor Jack Terrazas. “Proper disposal of pesticide products can be very costly and I am happy to see them take advantage of this amazing opportunity.”
Approximately 25,000 pounds of pesticides were pre-registered for collection and disposal, according to the organizers and the disposal contractor, Clean Harbors Environmental Service. The weight includes the containers which came in all forms – plastic bottles, glass jugs, drums, cans, and bags. Clean Harbors provided additional assistance to ensure safe handling and transport to the collection site of older containers in poorer condition. A wide variety of pesticides, such as herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides, were registered for disposal.
“This project exemplifies EPA’s ‘Making a Visible Difference in Communities’ initiative by supporting disadvantaged communities where the need is greatest,” said Kathy Taylor, EPA Assistant Director of the Land Division for the Pacific Southwest. “EPA appreciates the support from our state and local partners to protect residents in the Imperial Valley from unnecessary exposure to pesticides.”
Imperial County Agricultural Commissioner Connie Valenzuela stated, “I want to thank the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the California Department of Pesticide Regulation for offering us this rare opportunity to assist local growers in safe disposal of old pesticides. Projects like this help reduce the risk of pesticide exposure to residents, farm employees, and the environment.”
The California Department of Pesticide Regulation (CDPR) helped to secure $150,000 from the EPA to fund this project. The Imperial County Agricultural Commissioner’s Office is the local agency responsible for administering the pesticide use enforcement program under CDPR.