Department of Pesticide Regulation

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January 28, 2002   ENF 2002-005
County Agricultural Commissioners  



The Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) conducted a pilot compliance assessment project of the structural pest control industry in three counties between March 26 and May 24, 2001. The three counties assessed were Los Angeles, Santa Clara and San Mateo. The Compliance Assessment Workgroup (CAW) provided individual reports to each county's respective county agricultural commissioner (CAC) in August and September 2001.

The assessment focused primarily on Branch 1 residential fumigation operations. The assessments conducted were essentially identical to the county Structural Pest Control Inspections PR-ENF-011: B. Branch 1 Fumigation Application, Tarp Removal and Aeration; D. Equipment Inspection; and F. Aeration (unattended) Inspection. The CAW observed 28 Branch 1 fumigations, 17 Branch 1 tarp removal and aerations, and 21 unattended aerations. Equipment observations were documented for 35 Branch 1 operations.

As can be seen from the enclosed summaries, the results of the assessment showed relatively high compliance with pesticide laws and regulations by the structural fumigation industry. All criteria observed were found to have greater than 85% compliance. Of the 57 criteria observed in fumigation, tarp removal and aeration, and unattended aeration operations, 38 criteria had 100% compliance. One criterion (Suitable Methods 86%) associated with fumigation operations was below 90% compliance. This rate was the result of three tarps in poor condition and one failure to properly seal a tarp. Two criteria associated with tarp removal and aeration were below 90% compliance. These were Suitable Methods (88%) and Proper Entry (88%). These rates were the result of two aeration operations in which the fumigator entered structures with low air pressure alarms ringing on their self contained breathing apparatus units.

The structural industry compliance assessment included observations of Branch 2 (general pest control) and 3 (non-fumigant wood pest control) operations and non-agricultural production (landscape maintenance) operations. As can be seen in the attached summaries, the compliance rates for these operations were not as high as for the Branch 1 operations. Due to the low number of observations in these areas, no conclusions regarding the relative compliance rates could be determined. Based on these overall results, DPR has directed the CAW to suspend further structural assessments.

CAW is now addressing low compliance areas in the worker protection standard (WPS) compliance assessments. The first priority is to determine the actions that have been taken by DPR regions and the CACs in response to the WPS assessments. In addition to compiling follow-up documentation, the CAW is creating outreach materials to address low compliance areas found in the WPS compliance assessment and developing expanded overview inspection procedures.

Documentation relating to program changes made by CACs in counties where WPS assessments were conducted have been collected and placed in the WPS compliance assessment file. When DPR receives public record requests for the assessments, this program improvement documentation is included in the response. CACs should forward any additional continued program improvements, based on their specific WPS assessment findings, to their senior pesticide use specialist liaison for forwarding to the CAW.

In addition, any other CACs that have implemented program improvements in response to the statewide WPS compliance assessment report are requested to forward that information to their senior pesticide use specialist liaison for forwarding to CAW.

Lastly, it is important for us to show that improvements have been made in our programs. Therefore, DPR has requested the CAW to develop the best means for performing follow-up assessments in those specific counties that were identified as needing improvement in the WPS compliance assessment. It is preferable not to have the compliance assessment teams come back to reevaluate individual counties but rather measure improvements through the normal course of our seniors overview inspections.

If you have any questions, please contact your Senior Pesticide Use Specialist Liaison.

Original Signature by:
Scott T. Paulsen, Chief
Pesticide Enforcement Branch
(916) 324-4100

Enclosure, PDF

cc:  Mr. Daniel J. Merkley, Agricultural Commissioner Liaison (w/Enclosure)

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