The Maryland Department of Agriculture’s Pesticide Regulation Section is charge with the responsibility for enforcing the state Pesticide Applicator’s Law and regulations. Through a Cooperative Agreement with the United States Environmental Protections Agency (EPA), the MDA has been delegated the authority to regulate and enforce the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) in the State of Maryland.
Under the enforcement program, MDA conducts routine inspections of licensed pest control businesses, permitted public agencies, certified private applicators (farmer’s and grower’s), and permitted restricted use pesticide dealers, to ensure compliance with state and federal pesticide laws and regulations. Inspection include a review of pesticide application records, restricted use pesticide sales records, applicator training records, pesticide application equipment, personal protective and safety equipment, anti-siphon devices, pesticide storage areas and vehicles. Use observations are conducted to observe actual pesticide applications to field crops, greenhouses, lawns and ornamental plant, trees, structures, etc., to ensure applicators are applying pesticide in accordance with labeled direction and in compliance with state and federal regulations. As part of a Cooperative Agreement with EPA, the Pesticide Regulation Section also conducts inspections of pesticide producing establishments, marketplaces where pesticide are sold or distributed, and pesticide products being imported to or exported from the United States.
The Pesticide Regulation Section also conducts investigations of pesticide accidents/incidents, the alleged or suspected misuse of pesticides and consumer complaints regarding pesticide applications and pest inspections. EPA routinely refers various complaint and special initiatives to MDA for investigations or inspections.
Any person found in violation of the Pesticide Law, or regulations pertaining to the law, may be subject to an enforcement action. Enforcement actions can include any of the following:
- Letter of Reprimand
- Notice of Warning
- Civil Penalty Assessment – up to $2,500 for first offense, up to $5,000 for repeat offenses. The total penalties imposed on a person for violations that result from the same set of facts and circumstances may not exceed $25,000.
Denial, Suspension, Modification, or Revocation of a licensee, permit, applicator certification or registered employee identification card.
- Criminal Charges – If found guilty by the court, violator may be subject to a fine, or up to sixty days incarceration, or both.
To ensure fair and equitable enforcement action, the Pesticide Regulation Section developed an Enforcement Response Policy (ERP) to be used to determine the appropriate enforcement response for violations of the law and regulations. The ERP is designed to provide fair and equitable treatment violators by ensuring that similar enforcement responses and comparable penalty assessments will be made for comparable violations. The ERP takes into consideration a number of factors including the willfulness of the violation, the compliance history of the violator, any actual harm to health of humans, domestic animals and wildlife as well as the environment.