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Road Check Inspections
Pesticide and Fertilizer Road Check Inspections
The Pesticide and Plant Pest Management Division of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) regulates pesticide and fertilizer distribution and use. Pesticide inspectors monitor compliance with Michigan's laws and regulations by conducting roadside inspections during commercial pesticide and/or fertilizer application and transport activities. MDARD may take enforcement action for violations identified during the inspections.
- NREPA, Act 451 of 1994, Part 83, Pesticide Control (as amended)
- Regulation 636, Pesticide Applicators
- Regulation 637, Pesticide Use
- NREPA, Act 451 of 1994, Part 85, Fertilizers (as amended)
The information below may be covered during a road check inspection. MDARD also provides a road check self-audit checklist.
Application Equipment and Spill Kits
Reg. 637, Rule 4: Pesticide applicators must comply with the following requirements:
Application Equipment – Pesticide application equipment must be in sound mechanical condition, free of leaks, defects, or malfunctions that might cause the pesticide to be deposited off-target or in a manner that is inconsistent with its label.
Calibration – Pesticide application equipment must be properly calibrated.
Spill Kit – Any person who mixes, loads, or otherwise uses pesticides must have immediate access to a spill kit that is designed to recover, minimize, contain, or absorb spills, leaks, releases, or other discharges of pesticides. The spill kit needs to be appropriate to contain and clean-up the type and volume of pesticide being carried. For instance, a broom and dustpan are not effective for liquid pesticides, nor is an absorbent material effective for granular pesticides. All spills must be cleaned up and contained. The spill kit requirement does not apply to a person who uses single containers of use dilution pesticides in a quantity that is less than 16 ounces.
Act 451, Section 8314: With a few exceptions, almost every person applying pesticides for a commercial purpose must be either a certified or registered applicator with the State of Michigan. A commercial applicator may only make pesticide applications in the categories for which he or she is certified or registered.
For additional information, visit Michigan.gov/MDARDPestCert.
Commercial Applicator Records
Reg. 636, Rule 15: The employer of a commercial applicator must maintain verifiable records at the place of business. Records must be maintained for one year following the application of general-use pesticides, and three years for restricted-use pesticides. Upon request, records must be made available to MDARD during normal business hours. Records must contain the following information:
- Brand name of the pesticide(s)
- EPA Registration Number of the pesticide(s)
- Concentration of pesticide applied (the ratio of carrier & concentrated pesticide used to create an end use dilution)
- Amount of pesticide end use dilution applied
- The target pest, purpose, or crop site
- The date the pesticide was applied
- The address or location of the pesticide application
- The method of application
- The rate of application (examples: to point of runoff or 1 gal / 1000 sq ft)
Reg. 637, Rule 12: Commercial applicators who are required to be licensed must provide the following information to their customers:
Application Information/Receipt – No later than at the time of the application, for-hire applicators must provide the customer with the specific information. If agreed to in writing prior to the application, the customer may receive the information via an electronic method within 48 hours of the application. The information must include:
- Name, address, and phone number of your firm
- Full name of applicator(s)
- Date and time of application
- The pesticides applied, including the common name(s) of the active ingredient(s)
- Target pest(s)
- Precautionary warnings/re-entry restrictions on the pesticide label applicable to the situation
Risk and Benefit Information – At the initiation of a service agreement, for-hire firms are required to provide their customers with specific written information about the risks and benefits of pesticides. Visit the Pesticide Regulatory Information website (Michigan.gov/MDARDPestRegul) for a template.
Drift ManagementReg. 637, Rules 4 and 10: Applicators must not apply pesticides when weather conditions, such as strong winds, favor off-target drift. Before applying a pesticide, an applicator must determine the likelihood and possible direction of off-target drift. When drift is likely to occur (most outdoor applications), the applicator must utilize a written drift management plan that includes drift minimization practices. The plan must also include provisions to secure consent (prior to the application) of people who may be impacted by drift. If drift occurs, the applicator must notify residents in the affected area. See MDARD’s Pesticide Regulatory Information website (Michigan.gov/MDARDPestRegul) for a drift management plan template.
Act 451, Sections 8512b, 8512f: The following requirements pertain to fertilizer applied to turf grass:
Fertilizer Containing Phosphate – The application of fertilizer containing available phosphate (P2O5) to turf is prohibited under most situations. See Act 451 of 1994, Part 85 for specific exceptions.
Buffer Zones Near Surface Water – Applicators must not apply fertilizer to turf within 15 feet of any surface water, unless one of the following apply
- A continuous natural vegetative buffer at least 10 feet wide separates the turf from the surface water.
- A spreader guard, deflector shield, or drop spreader is used when applying the fertilizer, and the fertilizer is not applied within 3 feet of the surface water.
Fertilizer Wash Water – Spreaders that are used to apply fertilizer to turf must be cleaned in a manner that does not allow wash water to be discharge directly into waters of this state, including, but not limited to drains.
Fertilizer on Impervious Surfaces – If fertilizer is released onto an impervious surface (including sidewalks, driveways, patios, and paved roads), the applicator must do both of the following:
- Promptly contain the fertilizer.
- Either legally apply the fertilizer to turf or another appropriate site or return the fertilizer to an appropriate container.
Frozen and Saturated Soil – Fertilizer application to turf is prohibited if the soil is frozen or saturated with water.
Follow the Pesticide Label
Act 451, Section 8311(9) and Reg. 637, Rule 4(a): Pesticide product labels provide information about how to safely handle and use pesticide products. Unlike most other types of product labels, pesticide labels are legally enforceable. Applicators are responsible for following all the directions for use on a pesticide label. Label directions include pesticide mixing instructions, application rates, sites where the product can be applied, method(s) of application, personal protective equipment requirements, options allowed for storage and disposal, and additional precautionary statements that may be pertinent to the applicator and customer.
Act 451, Section 8313: Commercial applicators that hold themselves out to the public as being in the business of applying pesticides must have a commercial applicator license in all applicable categories for each place of business. An applicator’s certification card is not a business license. Holding oneself out to be in the business of applying pesticides includes, but is not limited to, such activities as:
- Performing pesticide applications and bidding on contracts for pesticide application services
- Advertising services in flyers, websites, social media, signage on vehicles, storefronts, etc.
For additional information, visit Michigan.gov/MDARDPABL.
Personal Protective Equipment
Reg. 637, Rule 9: Commercial pesticide applicators are required to wear all the following personal protective equipment.
- Impervious gloves in situations where hands are likely to come into contact with the pesticide
- Protective footwear
- Long pants
- Long sleeves (if the label does not require long sleeves, then short sleeves may be worn if soap & water are immediately available)
- Applicators must also wear any additional PPE required by the pesticide label, such as protective eyewear, respirators, and chemical aprons. Note that additional PPE is often required during mixing and loading activities.
Reg. 637, Rule 11: Several types of commercial pesticide applications require posting, including:
Turf and Ornamental Sites – For broadcast, foliar and space applications (not including general use ready-to-use pesticides) lawn markers must be posted at primary points of entry. Standard green and white lawn posting markers must be printed on both sides and contain only the information shown in the regulation. Pesticide posting markers are not to be used for fertilizer-only applications.
Indoor Insecticide Applications – For indoor broadcast, foliar or space insecticide applications, using a product other than a ready-to-use pesticide, provide a sticker with a house-in-a-cloud symbol and the date of application to the building manager to post at the entrance to commercial/public buildings or health care facilities at the completion of the application.
Other Posting and Notification Requirements – Golf course, community-wide and right-of-way applications also have specific requirements. See Regulation 637 for more information.
Vehicle IdentificationReg. 637, Rule 4(l): For firms that are required to be licensed, vehicles that transport pesticides must be identified with the firm’s name plus either the business address, telephone number or US DOT number. The information must be in a typeface that is three inches tall or larger.