Pasco company to pay $20,000 for mishandling hazardous waste

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A Pasco agriculture company agreed to pay the state to settle violations for improper handling of dangerous waste.

Syngenta Seeds’ operation in Pasco treats vegetable seeds with pesticides prior to distribution. Last year, an investigation found Syngenta didn’t properly contain the waste from this process, potentially exposing people and the environment to pesticide waste, according to the Washington Department of Ecology.

In March 2017, state inspectors observed red dust outside the area where the waste is collected prior to disposal. The dust was residue from the treatment process, and was classified as extremely hazardous waste under Washington’s dangerous waste laws.

“When dangerous waste is mishandled, the chances are higher for people and the environment to be exposed to toxic chemicals,” said Karen Wood, section manager for Ecology’s Hazardous Waste and Toxics Reduction program, in a statement. “Proper handling and disposal is crucial.”

The penalty was originally $30,000, but Syngenta entered into an expedited settlement agreement with Ecology to reduce the recommended penalty by one-third to $20,000.

“Adhering to environmental regulations to protect health and safety is a priority for Syngenta,” said Casey Young, Syngenta Seeds site manager for the Pasco operation, in a news release. “We have improved our administrative processes and addressed Ecology’s concerns.”

As part of the settlement, Syngenta waives its right to appeal.

Ecology’s expedited settlement process saves the state, taxpayers and the company the expense of costly litigation, the release said.

Ecology required the company to immediately correct the violations. The Pasco facility is now in compliance, the state reported.