Exterminator cited at Kimball Junction
An unlicensed exterminator misused dangerous chemicals by applying them too close to walkways that hikers and cyclists frequent at Kimball Junction, the authorities say.
The worker at Five Star Pest Control was issued five citations and ordered by the state Department of Agriculture and Food to pay a $500 fine, Department of Agriculture and Food investigator Cody James said.
"They’re the highest citations that we can possibly give," James said in a telephone interview. "It needed a major hit, but on the other side, it probably did not need to go to a court hearing."
Tuesday was the last day to pay the fine without incurring additional penalties, he explained about the citations issued June 2.
The worker wore a blue uniform and held a black bucket when he plopped several pesticide tablets onto the ground at Foxpointe condominiums in May.
"There were many violations that we found what with the faulty and careless manner that he was applying it in," James said. "They were not reading the labeling and applied the product near a walkway where people would have been."
Foxpointe resident Julian Massey, who reported the exterminator to the Department of Environmental Quality, praised the findings by the state in an interview Tuesday.
"It was ironic that it was so close to the nature preserve," Massey said about poison tablets placed near paved trails and the 1200-acre Swaner EcoCenter.
He said he confronted the exterminator when the tablets were placed near his home.
"I walked up and said, ‘Hey, you know you’re breaking the law, what are you doing?’" Massey said. "Why would they do that? People said it was unbelievable."
Meanwhile, the pest controller was also cited for falsifying documents, James said.
"The name on the records was actually a false name, different than the actual person who made the application," the investigator said.
The worker wasn’t licensed when the violations occurred, but has since become a registered exterminator in Utah, James said.
The man claimed he was targeting voles, but used a chemical not approved by the Environmental Protection Agency for destroying those rodents, James said.
Finally, the pest control company was charged for allowing its unlicensed worker to evade provisions of the Utah Pesticide Control Act, James said.
"The person whose name was on the records is a partner in the company and he had a license," James said. "They were working together to skim underneath the law."
The highly toxic Maki paraffin block pesticide used on grass at Kimball Junction should not be applied where it is easily accessed by children and pets, according to the EPA.
"I was shocked that these kids were riding on their bikes around these poison cakes," Massey said. "A lot of dog owners were shocked."
But evidence does not show the poison harmed wildlife, James said, adding that additional charges could result from any deaths.
"Within the next 12 months there will have to be a re-inspection done on him to make sure he is in compliance," James said. "The number one thing is the human health concern."
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Starting Friday, fires and charcoal grilling will only be allowed in improved fire pits or grills on the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest.