An image by the University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources office shows the application of a fumigant by TriCal Inc.

published on November 18, 2021 - 1:09 PM
Written by The Business Journal Staff

Multiple complaints about a 2016 pesticide application in Fresno County have resulted in a $44,275 fine for a Gilroy company.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Thursday announced the settlement against Gilroy-based TriCal Inc. for errant usage of the pesticide Tri-Clor at an almond field near Selma.

In November 2016, residents near the application site in Fresno County filed complaints with the Fresno County Agricultural Commissioner over health effects consistent with exposure to pesticides, according to a news release from the U.S. EPA.

An investigation by the Ag Commissioner’s office about the application of Tri-Clor — a restricted use fumigant used to treat soil-borne diseases — spurred the agency to refer the matter to the U.S. EPA.

“Reducing pesticide exposure for the agricultural communities and farmworkers is a high priority for EPA,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Director of Enforcement and Compliance Division Director Amy Miller. “Applicators must follow all EPA-approved labeling instructions to ensure protection of human health and the environment or face penalties.”

Fresno County’s ag commissioner in 2016 was Les Wright. Tri-Clor can cause health effects similar to tear gas.

Investigators with U.S. EPA determined that TriCal did not follow requirements outlined by the pesticide’s label, including meeting levels of soil surface compaction. The company’s fumigation management plan was missing numerous elements, the release stated, and a post-application summary was inaccurate.

“California has clear guidelines and regulations for how pesticides are applied to ensure the safety of the public and the protection of our environment,” said Fresno County Agricultural Commissioner Melissa Cregan.


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