Apple Pesticides and the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act

The Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA) requires that anyone storing materials included on the Extremely Hazardous substance list (Section 302 list from SARA – Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1986) must make a one-time report to county and state emergency planning agencies. A common misconception is that agriculture is exempt from this regulation. There is an exemption for normal agricultural use for materials on the Hazardous Substances list. But agriculture is not exempt from reporting amounts of Extremely Hazardous substances that exceed the reportable thresholds. There is also no exemption for quick turn-around between delivery and application. Having these materials on your farm site for more than a millisecond counts as on-site storage.

There are some commonly used apple pesticides on the Extremely Hazardous list, as shown below. The minimum amount of active ingredient that can be stored is shown after the name. In the list below, the reportable amount is translated into the amount of a common formulation, and is also stated as the number of acre treatments this amount of formulation could provide.

The term “acre” has little meaning for a three dimensional crop like apples. For these calculations, “acre” was assumed to refer to trees requiring 240 gallons tree row volume dilute spray per acre.  Where there is a range of label dosage, the number of equivalent acres is also stated as a range. For blocks of larger trees requiring higher spray volume, the number of acres would be less. For example, for a block of 300 gallon tree row volume dilute trees, the amount of Imidan that will require reporting to emergency management agencies is the amount required to treat  4.75 acres.

Apple pesticides on the Extremely Hazardous Materials list:
(reportable amounts that represent less than 20 treated acres are in bold)

Thiodan (or other endosulfan product) @ 10 lbs. = 20 lbs. 50WSB = 6 treated acres

Guthion (or other azinphosmethyl product) @ 10 lbs. = 20 lbs. 50WSB = 13 treated acres

Gramoxone (or other paraquat product) @ 10 lbs. = 4 gallons Gramoxone Extra = 10–16 acres of treated tree row, which in turn would represent about 30–48 acres of orchard if the herbicide strip is 6 feet wide with 18 row spacing.

Di-Syston (disulfoton) @ 500 pounds = 3333 lbs. 15% granules = enough to treat 14,220 nonbearing trees with 1.5 inch trunk diameter.  At 500 trees per acre that would be about 28 acres.

Carzol @ 500 pounds = 544 lbs. 92SP = 81–163 treated acres.

Lannate (or other methomyl product) @ 500 lbs. = 556 lbs. 90SP = 83–167 treated acres.

Vydate @ 100 lbs. = 50 gals.  Vydate 2L = 166–333 treated acres.

Supracide (methidathion) @ 500 lbs. = 2000 lbs. 25WP = 278–833 treated acres.

Digon, Dimate (or other dimethoate product) @ 500 pounds = 125 gals.  4EC = 417–556 treated acres.

zinc phosphide bait @ 500 lbs. =  > 2500 treated acres.  You don’t want to keep this much around anyway because it could degrade over time.

The Federal regulations only require a one-time report for each material. State regulations may impose annual reporting, but this is not the case in Maine. However, once a facility has been reported to the county, the county agency is required to develop a emergency management plan. To maintain that plan, the county agency may require annual reporting from the person responsible for the facility where listed pesticides are stored. If the facility manager and county agency disagree about the definition of reasonable reporting requirements, the issue can be brought to the state level for resolution.

The Federal statute requires submitting an updated report if new materials are added to the storage list, or if there is a change in contact person, phone numbers, etc.

The initial reporting form is a simple two pager that asks for the names and addresses of storage facility and contact persons, along with the name and CAS number (available on Material Safety Date Sheet for each material). However, once under regulation, a more complete form that requires storage outline map, route information for delivery of regulated materials, D.O.T. approval for transporting vehicles, intake, outtake, and average inventory estimates are required. On-site visits by emergency planning personnel may be required. There are no statutory prior notification protocols for these visits.

Once included in emergency management planning, the site is assigned an appropriate radius for emergency notification in case a fire or other hazardous incident occurs. The identity of each hazardous storage facility and its emergency management zone is public information and may be actively disseminated. Once covered by EPCRA regulatory oversight, the facility owner is supposed to develop and exercise an emergency management plan annually, and submit a letter documenting such each year. In Maine and perhaps other New England states as well, owners of facilities that must comply with EPCRA, or their representatives, are supposed to attend two emergency planning committee meetings a year.