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EPA orders $65,250 penalty for pesticide company

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KENNEWICK, Washington (AP) — The J.R. Simplot Co. will pay a penalty of $65,250 after the Environmental Protection Administration accused it of pesticide safety issues just south of the Columbia River.

The penalty covers problems cited by EPA at both its Umatilla, Oregon, and Moreland, Idaho, facilities where large amounts of pesticide are stored and sold, the Tri-City Herald reported.

Simplot did not respond to a request for comment.

Simplot has a warehouse about 1,000 feet from the Umatilla River, just upstream from where it enters the Columbia River. EPA said the warehouse had a 12-inch hole in the floor for piping that could allow liquid pesticide that spills to contaminate the ground under the warehouse.

The Idaho facility that was included in the settlement had pesticide spills that had solidified on the ground, creating a possible exposure for workers, according to EPA.

Federal law requires structures used for containment to have discharge outlets and gravity drains sealed to prevent pesticide from leaking and contaminating the environment.

“Pesticides facilities have a responsibility to ensure their products are safely stored so that the people working there and living nearby are not exposed to potentially dangerous chemicals,” said Ed Kowlaski, director of EPA Region 10’s Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Division.

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