Department of Pesticide Regulation
Brian R. Leahy
Director
  Edmund G. Brown Jr.
Governor
 
 
March 7, 2013   ENF 12-21 (AMENDED)
 
TO:
County Agricultural Commissioners
 
SUBJECT:
SOIL FUMIGANT PHASE 2 LABEL IMPLEMENTATION - ENFORCEMENT STATUS, AND REVISIONS TO RESTRICTED MATERIALS AND PERMITTING COMPENDIUM VOLUME 3 (AMENDED MARCH 2013)
 

The USEPA-required phase 2 restrictions for soil fumigants must be on labels released by registrants for sale on or after December 1, 2012. After that date, product registrants may only sell, distribute, or use product with the new label. In contrast, pest control dealers or end users who are not registrants may continue to sell or use their existing stocks of product with previously-approved labels. Therefore, there may be both old and new labeling used in the field.

DPR staff have compared the new label requirements to current California regulatory requirements and to DPR recommended permit conditions for restricted materials. Many of the requirements supersede or conflict with each other.

This complex comparison task has resulted in the following enforcement determinations and recommended permit conditions.

This March 2013 letter replaces the December 2012 version by revising recommended permit conditions regarding minimum buffer zones, isolation of application blocks, overlapping buffer zones, tarp perforation and removal, and combined work site plans and Fumigation Management Plans (FMP).

The following are DPR recommended permit conditions for all soil fumigants:

  • The most restrictive requirement, whether it is the label, regulations, or local CAC’s adopted permit conditions, must be followed. DPR may provide specific guidance about exceptions.
  • The CAC has discretion to adopt county-specific permit conditions based on local circumstances and mitigation measure that have worked for them in the past.
  • These interim permit conditions may be further refined before final mitigation measures are determined.
  • If buffer zones for two or more applications overlap during the first 36 hours, the combined acreage of the application blocks must not exceed 40 acres, and in some cases buffer zone sizes must be recalculated.
  • The tarp usage buffer zone reduction credits specified on the label are allowed. Likewise, DPR recommends allowing buffer zone reduction credits for post- application water seals, when such credits are specified on product labeling. The exception is methyl bromide, for which none of the label buffer zone reduction credits may be used.
  • DPR has concerns with enforceability of the label buffer zone reduction credits for clay content and organic matter percentage. Soil texture can vary within a field, and it could be difficult for an inspector to verify values reported by an applicator. Further, DPR is still evaluating whether or not other label reductions, such as soil temperature, Symmetry rig applications, or the use of potassium thiosulfate are supported. Therefore, DPR recommends that you not allow buffer zone reduction credits for these.
  • There is a registrant based training requirement on the new labeling. Holders of a Private Applicator Certificate who will supervise an application under the new labeling must take the additional registrant based training available at http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/reregistration/soil_fumigants/soil-fum-handlers.html. Holders of a California Qualified Applicator License (QAL) or Certificate (QAC) in Subcategory O (Field Fumigation Pest Control) do not need to take the registrant training. U.S. EPA has approved California as a state with a certification and licensing program (Subcategory O) that meets labeling requirements for registrant -supplied safety training. Subcategory O qualified applicators already have received a hard copy of the Addendum to the Field Fumigation Study Guide, which explains the new safety requirements included in phase 2 soil fumigant labeling.

Chloropicrin alone and chloropicrin with 1, 3-D:

Use the DPR-recommended permit conditions found in Compendium Volume 3 (attached). The following are highlights of the new permit conditions for chloropicrin.

  • Application block size is limited to 40 acres at one location within a 24 hour period.
  • If buffer zones for two or more application blocks overlap during the first 36 hours, the combined acreage of the application blocks must not exceed 40 acres. In addition, the buffer zone size is based on the combined acreage, unless all application blocks use tarps that qualify for 60% buffer zone reduction credit.
  • Regardless of credits, buffer zones must be a minimum of 25 feet for applications using tarps that qualify for 60% reduction in buffer zone size. For applications that use tarps that do not qualify for 60% buffer zone reduction, or applications that are untarped, minimum buffer zone size is:
    • 60 feet for application blocks that are less than or equal to six acres, or
    • 100 feet for application blocks larger than six acres, up to the 40 acre maximum.
    These minimum buffer zone sizes do not apply to certain specified application sites.
  • If allowed by the label, buffer zone reduction credits are allowed for tarp usage and for post application water treatments only. In contrast, label reduction credits are not allowed for Symmetry application system, potassium thiosulfate, soil organic matter or clay content, or soil temperature.
  • Perforation of any tarp that qualifies for any percentage buffer zone reduction credit is, at a minimum, 9 days after treatment.

Methyl bromide with chloropicrin:

Use the DPR-recommended permit conditions found in Compendium Volume 3 (attached), along with current California regulations. The following are highlights of the new permit conditions for methyl bromide.

  • California methyl bromide regulations require both an inner and an outer buffer zone. In contrast, the new labels mention only a single buffer zone. DPR is recommending permit conditions to clarify how label buffer zone requirements apply to inner and outer buffer zones.
  • Note that the labeling refers to compliance with California permits for methyl bromide buffer zone distances.
  • The minimum size of the outer buffer zone is 100 feet, except for applications that meet all of the following criteria:
    • Employ the application method described in 3 CCR section 6447.3(a)(3)(B)(1), AND
    • Are 10 acres or less, AND
    • Have an application rate of 235 pounds or less of methyl bromide active ingredient per acre.
    For applications that meet all of those criteria, the minimum size of the outer buffer zone is 60 feet.
  • The document Methyl Bromide Field Soil Fumigation Buffer Zone Determination has been revised to reflect the new buffer zones. The new revision includes the requirement that, if buffer zones for two or more applications overlap during the first 36 hours, the combined acreage of the application blocks must not exceed 40 acres, and the buffer zone size must be based on the combined acreage. The previous requirement of mile separation for an isolated block no longer applies. None of the buffer zone credits described on product labeling may be used for methyl bromide.
  • California regulations and Phase 2 labeling have overlapping but distinct requirements for notification. To simplify compliance, DPR is recommending permit conditions for a single, comprehensive notification that covers both regulatory and label requirements.
  • Perforation of any tarp that U.S. EPA has rated as qualifying for any percentage reduction in buffer zone distance is, at a minimum, 9 days after treatment.
  • Commissioners have the option to require submission of only a work site plan (WSP), or to require submission of a single comprehensive document that covers the requirements for both the WSP and Fumigation Management Plan (FMP).

Metam sodium/potassium and Dazomet (MITC producing compounds):

Until the DPR-recommended permit conditions found in Compendium Volume 3 can be updated, the following information is provided:

  • Follow the label instructions with some exceptions. That is, for post application water treatment, application timing, restrictions on method of application, and post application monitoring criteria, follow the current DPR-recommended permit conditions in Subsection C.7.2.
  • The application block size is limited to 50 acres at one location within a 24 hour period for drench or sprinkler application and limited to 80 acres for all other methods.
  • Regardless of credits, buffer zones must be a minimum of 60 feet for applications using Totally Impermeable Film (TIF) and must be a minimum of 100 feet for other applications, except for applications to:
    • golf courses;
    • replant of individual vine or tree-sites (tree holes) less than one contiguous acre;
    • raised-tarpaulin nursery fumigations of less than one acre
    • potting soil; and
    • greenhouses and other similar structures.
    For such applications, follow labeling restrictions, which include a minimum buffer zone of 25 feet.
  • If allowed by the label, buffer zone reduction credits are allowed for tarp usage only. In contrast, label reduction credits are not allowed for Symmetry application system, potassium thiosulfate, soil organic matter or clay content, or soil temperature.

Note that a revised California Fumigation Management Plan (FMP) template for phase 2 labels has been posted on DPR’s website at http://www.cdpr.ca.gov/docs/enforce/prenffrm/prenfmnu.htm

Note also that none of the permit conditions affect the volatile organic compound regulations, including the fumigation method requirements. However, some labels may specify fumigation methods that are more stringent than the volatile organic compound regulations.

DPR has completed the soil fumigant phase 2 training sessions for the CACs. Numerous questions and suggestions are being analyzed and will be addressed in a subsequent Question/Answer letter.

If you have any questions, please contact the Enforcement Branch Liaison assigned to your county.

Sincerely

Original Signature by:
 
George Farnsworth
Chief, Enforcement Branch
916-324-4100

Enclosures:

Subsection C.7.3 Methyl Bromide (Soil Fumigation) Recommended Permit Conditions), PDF (15 kb)
Part 7.3.2 Methyl Bromide Field Fumigation Recommended Permit Conditions, PDF (67 kb)
Subsection C.7.4 Chloropicrin and Chloropicrin with 1,3-D (Fumigant) Recommended Permit Conditions, PDF (49 kb)

cc:  Mr. Joseph Marade, DPR Agricultural Commissioner Liaison
      Enforcement Branch Liaisons

1001 I Street  ·   P.O. Box 4015  ·  Sacramento, California 95812-4015  ·   www.cdpr.ca.gov
A Department of the California Environmental Protection Agency