Mini-Bulks In The Crosshairs

When it amended the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), EPA was required by Congress to promulgate regulations prescribing procedures and standards for container design and standards and the removal of pesticides from containers prior to disposal. The purpose of the rule is straightforward and clear:

■ Minimize human exposure during container handling and use.

■ Provide for a reasonable indication if anyone other than the authorized filler or refiller has introduced material into a refillable container.

■ Facilitate container disposal and recycling.

■ Encourage the use of refillable containers.

ALL containers — new or currently in use as refillable containers — must be compliant no later than Aug. 16, 2011, without exception. There are no grace period or “grandfathering” provisions in the rule.

Although the exact number is not known, it is estimated that there could be 400,000 to 500,000 containers currently being used as refillable containers for crop protection products that must be retrofitted to comply or be recycled in a responsible manner as prescribed by the label registrant in August 2011.

Looking At The Provisions

The key provisions of the section that pertains to refillable containers are:

Applicability. Any registrant of a product that packages the product in bulk or a refillable mini-bulk must ensure that the container is compliant. Any authorized refiller of a registrant’s product must also comply and only refill that registrant’s product into containers that the registrant has specifically identified as “acceptable containers” by description, part number, or other clear means.

Tamper-Evident Device and/or One-Way Valves. All portable refillable containers, when they leave the registrant as a filled package size, or an authorized refiller, must have a tamper-evident device and/or a one-way valve on all openings (except for vents) to be compliant. A tamper-evident device, such as a wire seal or crimp seal, that can be visually inspected to determine if the container has been opened will work for some openings, but for bottom drain valves that will be used by the applicator to extract the crop protection product, a one-way valve is needed or the container will need to be cleaned before refilling. In addition to 2-inch bungs such as container caps and bottom drain valve openings, EPA clarified the rule in De­cember 2009: Any pump that is integrally mounted to a refillable container and travels with the container to and from the authorized fill or refill point is an opening. The pump must have a one-way valve or tamper-evident seals that can be wire sealed to the container to provide “reasonable indication” that product from an unauthorized source was introduced into the container.

Unless a pumping system is specifically designed with a internal one-way check valve — not to be confused with a bypass valve that allows for recirculation of a product — the system, if it is integrally attached to a refillable container, may not comply with the intent of the EPA 2011 rule. For many of the system configurations in use today, there does not seem to be an effective and positive way to attach a wire seal to the different points between the discharge hose, pump, or meter/ball valve assembly of those pumps integrally attached to a refillable container that would provide a “reasonable indication” that an unauthorized source had introduced something into the container. Since there are no eyelets or other means through which a wire seal can be looped between the different threaded parts of today’s crop protection product pumping systems, someone could unscrew a meter and attach a discharge hose from another source and pump material back through the pump of the empty mini-bulk.

Farmchem’s solution is a 1-inch in-line check valve with a molded-in eyelet that will allow the container owner to wire seal the one-way valve to the container. This provides the “reasonable indication” that some unauthorized source has tampered with the container and complies with the EPA rule intent. The in-line check valve can be threaded into the discharge port of the pump and then the discharge hose threaded into the downstream port of the one-way valve.

Markings. The rule requires that each refillable container have a durable marking, which could be a non-repetitive serial number or other “unique” identifier. EPA is still in the process of issuing a clarification of what is durable and can withstand wear and tear or decay during normal use. Examples that have been given for durable are “etching, ink jetting, heat stamping, or mechanically attaching a plate with permanent and unique identifier.”

DOT Standards. If the crop protection product is DOT hazardous, the container into which it is filled or refilled must comply with applicable DOT regulations. If the product is not DOT hazardous, the refillable container must be designed and constructed to meet the DOT (UN) testing requirements for Packaging Group III.

Bulk Tanks. Besides containment requirements discussed in another section of the rule, bulk chemical tanks that are refilled by the product registrant are considered “refillable” containers. As with other refillable containers, the registrant must provide a description of acceptable containers and these tanks must also have a shut-off valve and vent, and no outside sight gauges are allowed.

Leave a Reply

Legislation Stories

LegislationUSDA: Quick Implementation Of Disaster Assistance Programs A ‘Top Priority’
July 9, 2014
USDA has processed 106,000 payments to farmers in 40 states across the country who suffered livestock and grazing losses between Oct. 2011 and passage of the 2014 Farm Bill. Read More
LegislationTFI Praises White House For Signing WRRDA Into Law
June 11, 2014
The bill streamlines U.S. Army Corps of Engineers projects, prioritizes authorized waterway improvements and provides needed adjustments to the Inland Waterways Trust Fund. Read More
LegislationAg Policy: Plenty Of Fertilizer Issues Ahead
January 2, 2014
From West Fertilizer to the Chesapeake Bay, fertilizer producers and dealers are keeping an eye on several Beltway developments in 2014. Read More
LegislationLack Of Farm Bill Leaves Farmers Facing Uncertainty In 2014
December 13, 2013
With just a few legislative working days remaining in 2013, the likelihood of a new farm bill is waning, leaving farmers in limbo once again. Read More

Trending Articles

Green Valley Ag facility
Retail FacilitiesGreen Valley Ag Adopts A.J. Sackett’s Precision Fertilizer Blending® Technology At New Facility
July 8, 2014
Sackett's Precision Fertilizer Blending® Technology is making huge strides around the world. Green Valley Ag adopts the technology at its new facility to support its advancing agronomic needs. Read More
Retail FacilitiesWaconia Manufacturing Builds Facility Designed For Speed, Efficiency
July 7, 2014
To make its new hub facility more efficient, Cooperative Elevator enlisted the aid of Waconia Manufacturing. Read More
EquipmentSummer Show Preview 2014: Superior Sprayers Take The Field
July 3, 2014
In this final installment of our coverage of the major categories of Big IRON that retailers can expect to test-drive at this summer’s events, here is a look at 19 sprayers. Read More
Scouting a soybean patch at Green Valley Ag.
EmployeesCropLife Compensation Survey: Battling Talent Drain
July 2, 2014
Retailers too often lose employees to companies outside of agriculture, while recruiting efforts are most often limited to competitors and other ag-focused organizations. Read More
HerbicidesDow AgroSciences Introduces SureStart II Herbicide
June 16, 2014
The enhanced formulation has improved viscosity and increased stability under heat and controls more than 60 high-anxiety grasses and broadleaf weeds found in corn fields. Read More
HerbicidesBASF Investing $270 Million To Expand U.S. Herbicide Production
June 11, 2014
BASF has invested more than $270 million to expand herbicide production capacities in the U.S., including more than 20 new products to be launched over next two years. Read More

Latest News

HerbicidesWillowood To Market Glufosinate
July 28, 2014
Willowood USA recently announced that Federal EPA has approved its technical registration for glufosinate. Read More
InsecticidesHow To Scout For Corn Earworms In Corn
July 28, 2014
In her weekly report, University of Missouri Agronomy Specialist Jill Scheidt discusses what to look for when scouting for corn earworm. Read More
Crop InputsDuPont Pioneer, Weyerhaeuser Enter Technology License A…
July 28, 2014
The agreement brings together agricultural and forestry know-how to sustainably improve crop productivity for corn growers around the world. Read More
EquipmentAGCO Launches Global iPad App
July 28, 2014
The free AGCO Global iPad App can be downloaded from the Apple iTunes Store and features the full family of RoGator self-propelled sprayers and TerraGator high-floatation spreaders. Read More
Eric SfiligojYuma Centennial Ag Supply Earns 2014 National Environme…
July 28, 2014
Colorado-based ag retailer receives top trophy in 24th annual DuPont Crop Protection/CropLife ceremony. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Forms Alliance With Wildlife Managment, Seed O…
July 25, 2014
The strategic alliance will provide Tecomate with key wildlife products, processing facilities, distribution centers and sales through Pinnacle’s ever-growing retail network. Read More
ManagementFranken Presses White House On RFS Support
July 25, 2014
Al Franken and a group of Senate democrats recently met with senior White House official John Podesta to urge the administration to change its position on an EPA proposal. Read More
ManagementASA, FarmLink To Launch ‘Operation Benchmark̵…
July 25, 2014
The American Soybean Association (ASA) and FarmLink are teaming up to help farmers close the $11 billion gap between what they harvested in 2013 and what they could harvest annually. Read More
StewardshipNorthey: Farmers Commit $1.4 Million to Try New Water Q…
July 25, 2014
The practices that are eligible for funding include cover crops, no-till or strip till and using a nitrification inhibitor when applying fall fertilizer. Read More
Precision AgFarmers Learn How Changing World Will Impact Iowa
July 24, 2014
Technology and understanding global consumer demand for Iowa farm products brought hundreds of farmers and agribusiness leaders to Ames recently for the annual Iowa Farm Bureau Federation Economic Summit. Read More
HerbicidesPurdue: Late Season Weeds May Require Manual Removal
July 24, 2014
Hand-rouging and pulling late season weeds by hand may be the best way to remove them, more so than using a herbicide, a Purdue Extension weed scientist says. Read More
Soybean Field
InsecticidesTransform WG, Closer SC Insecticides Receive R&D 10…
July 23, 2014
Dow AgroSciences has received the award from R&D Magazine for Transform WG insecticide and Closer SC insecticide with Isoclast active. Read More
EquipmentKinze, Raven Team Up On 4900 Planter Monitor
July 23, 2014
Kinze Manufacturing announces a partnership with Raven Industries to develop a standalone monitor solution for the Kinze 4900 series planter. With this new Read More
LegislationNew Farm Bill Continues To Confuse As Growers Await USD…
July 23, 2014
The new five-year Farm Bill eliminates many of the direct payments previously payed to growers and could benefit from USDA clarification, reports a Toledo Blade columnist. Read More
EquipmentPrecisionAg.com Relaunches With Responsive Design For M…
July 22, 2014
PrecisionAg, the worldwide leader in precision agriculture information and analysis, announces the launch of its completely redesigned website, PrecisionAg.com. Read More
FungicidesEPA OKs Two Willowood Fungicides
July 21, 2014
The EPA has approved Willowood Azoxy 2SC and Willowood AzoxyProp Xtra. two widely used broad spectrum, preventative fungicides with systemic and curative properties. Read More
Precision AgFarmers Learning Fast As UAVs Take Off
July 17, 2014
Farmers and others interested in how UAVs can be used in agricultural applications were able to learn more about the technology during the recent Precision Aerial Ag Show. Read More
CropLife 100Bobby Knight, Richard Petty To Highlight Ag PhD Field D…
July 17, 2014
Attendees at the July 24 Ag PhD Field Day at Hefty Farms will learn about the latest agricultural technologies, and get a chance to meet legendary sports figures Bobby Knight and Richard Petty. Read More