DEEP: DEP Levies $70,000 in Penalties Against Windsor Man for Illegal Use of Pesticides and Mass. Company that Sold Him the Product

December 10, 2010
DEP Levies $70,000 in Penalties Against Windsor Man for Illegal Use of Pesticides and Mass. Company that Sold Him the Product
Penalty funds will help finance research on bed bugs and support habitat management & restoration projects at Suffield Wildlife Management Area and Charles Island, Milford

The Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today announced that the arrest of a Windsor man last spring on charges of illegal use of pesticides has led to an enforcement action against him and the company that sold him the product.

In a settlement with DEP, Valley Green, Inc. of Holyoke, Massachusetts, acknowledged that it sold and distributed pesticide products on at least 54 dates to uncertified applicators, including William Bednarz of Bednarz Farm, Windsor.

Bednarz was arrested by DEP Environmental Conservation Police last April on charges that he used a pesticide to kill wildlife.  He allegedly placed hot dogs laced with Furadan, an agricultural pesticide, in and around his crop fields in an attempt to kill raccoons, which he believed were causing damage to his corn crop.  The pesticide-laced hot dogs were allegedly eaten by wildlife and two dogs, killing one.  As a result of criminal charges against him, Bednarz made restitution to the owner of the dogs.

Under a settlement of civil charges, Bednarz is paying penalties, performing habitat restoration work at DEPís Suffield Wildlife Management Area and supplementing sponsorship of research being conducted by the University of Connecticutís turf science program Ė all with a cumulative value of $15,000.  Under the settlement, he is also ineligible for Private Applicator certification for a period of two years.   Anyone handling and applying restricted-use pesticides is required to have this certification.

In the case of Valley Green, Inc., the company will pay $55,000 in penalties.  These include:

  • Civil penalty of $13,750;
  • Contribution of  $9,000 to sponsor research by the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station on resistance of bed bugs to the commonly used type of insecticides known as pyrethroids; and
  • A contribution of $32,250 for materials and labor to support a habitat management and restoration project at Charles Island, Milford Ė since Valley Greenís violations diminished the natural resources of the state.

In addition, Valley Green will take all steps necessary to comply with the laws and regulations governing the sale of pesticides, including record keeping.

DEP took action against Valley Green, Inc., for the following alleged violations:

  • Selling and distributing state and/or federal restricted-use pesticides with an expired restricted-use dealer registration on at least 54 dates between 2003 and 2009 to farmers with uncertified or expired certification located and operating in Connecticut;
    NOTE:  Restricted-use pesticides are those products which are designated for use only by individuals who have been trained and certified.  These types of pesticides are usually more hazardous than home and garden type of products;
  • Withholding records of sales of the pesticide Furadan 4F that were requested by a DEP inspector.

DEP Commissioner Amey Marrella said, "The settlement with Valley Green, Inc. reinforces the DEPís commitment to careful regulation of pesticide use and reporting.  Pesticides, especially restricted-use pesticides, must be used properly in order to protect natural resources."

"To ensure this," Commissioner Marrella said, "our state laws and regulations set standards for those eligible to purchase pesticides as well as for detailed record keeping.   Valley Green, Inc. did not comply with these requirements."

Background on Suffield Wildlife Management Area
This 196-acre property straddles the Massachusetts border and connects with 254 acres of protected land in that state.  The two states, acting in concert, purchased the properties in November, 2008, to create a habitat for a variety of migratory birds and other species. 

Background on Charles Island, Milford
This island is located in Long Island Sound, adjacent to Silver Sands State Park.  It is the home to several state-listed nesting birds, including snowy egrets and great egrets (state threatened species), glossy ibis and little blue herons (state special concern).  It has also been designated as a Natural Area Preserve and Audubon Connecticut has named it as an Important Bird Area.

Link to Original Press Release on Arrest of  William Bednarz