To All Local Enforcement Agencies:


The Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) and other state and local agencies regulate the disposal of pesticide containers.  DTSC's regulations state in part that empty pesticide containers are considered hazardous waste unless they are triple rinsed.  In the case of empty pesticide bags (EPBs), however, triple rinsing has not been a feasible option for growers (farmers) and commercial pesticide applicators (applicators) because bags cannot be practically rinsed, and the rinsate generated creates another disposal problem.

In the past, disposal of EPBs at Class III landfills has not been allowed except under certain conditions because the containers were considered to be hazardous waste.

Some local air districts allow growers (farmers) to burn the bags at use sites on specified days. Applicators, however, who are large generators of EPBs, are prohibited from burning them.

Because of the lack of clarity in the regulation of the disposal and burning of EPBs, some pest control operators have been stockpiling this type of waste in large quantities.

Change in DTSC Regulation

To alleviate this problem, DTSC recently issued a management memo stating that EPBs will not be subject to regulation as hazardous waste if emptied according to the guidelines developed by the Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR).  The guidelines are intended to ensure that no pesticide residue remains in the bags that can be poured, drained or otherwise feasibly removed. Both DPR and DTSC have taken the position that bags thus emptied, do not pose a significant threat to human health or the environment.  Furthermore, DTSC feels that adequate regulation of properly emptied EPBs is already provided by other state agencies and local governments.

In addition to the management memo, DTSC is amending its regulations to clarify that EPBs emptied according to DPR's guidelines will not be subject to regulation as hazardous waste. The guidelines will become part of DTSC's regulations.  Based on DTSC's position, the Regional Water Quality Control Board Executive Officers have agreed that:  1) Sulfur bags are suitable for disposal at Class III sites (either lined or unlined); and 2) other EPBs can be disposed at lined Class III sites or on a site-specific basis at unlined Class III sites if approved by the appropriate Regional Board.  The Regional Board Executive Officers have further determined that whenever possible, disposal of EPBs should be isolated in a fenced-off area of the landfill.

The CIWMB is in agreement with the above policies and guidelines.

DPR's bag-emptying guidelines are included as part of this advisory for your information and assistance in the management of EPBs.

If you have any questions, please contact your Permits Branch liaison.


Original signed by:

Douglas Okumura
Deputy Director
Permitting and Enforcement Division


Attachment 1

Publication #232-95-022

The intent of the advisories is to provide guidance to Local Enforcement Agencies (LEA) in performing their duties. Guidance, for this purpose, is defined as providing explanation of the Board’s regulations and statutes.

Unless included by reference in the LEA's Enforcement Program Plan (EPP), advisories are not enforceable in the same manner as regulations because 11340.5 and 11342.6). Advisories do not take precedence over statute or regulation.

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