HARRISBURG, Pa. — A Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture program that collects old pesticides from farms and pesticide application businesses has safely disposed of 2 million pounds of unwanted or unusable product across the state.
The milestone was reached Wednesday at the Caristone Farm in Lebanon County.
For nearly 20 years, the ChemSweep waste pesticide disposal program has provided the farming community with a safe, responsible and economical way to clean up old pesticides.
The program also provides pesticide disposal services to homeowners through the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s Household Hazardous Waste program.
“Today, we not only celebrate this major milestone, but also the farm families who work each day to protect our rich natural resources,” Agriculture Secretary George Greig said Wednesday.
Every year, many pesticide products are discontinued, phased out or become unusable, leaving growers, commercial establishments and applicators with potentially dangerous and toxic materials that cannot be placed in landfills.
The unwanted pesticides often become a safety hazard and an environmental concern through long-term storage in garages, barns or other areas.
“ChemSweep has helped our farmers find a safe outlet for chemicals that have the potential to become a liability to them and the environment,” said Chuck Wertz, Lebanon County Conservation District manager. “I encourage other farmers and counties to participate in this program because it has done a lot to safeguard our natural resources.”
The ChemSweep program makes collections in different counties each year. Licensed pesticide applicators, pesticide dealers and commercial pesticide application businesses in these designated counties are eligible to participate.
An independent contractor hired by the state agriculture department collects and packages all waste pesticides at each participating location, primarily for incineration at facilities approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. ChemSweep covers the disposal cost for the first 2,000 pounds per participant. Above that level, participants are billed at the contracted price.
The program is funded through annual registration fees paid by pesticide manufacturers and applicators.