Pure Seed Responds to DEQ Fine for Hazardous Waste Violations: ‘There Was Zero Harm to the Environment’

Pure Seed, a global leader in grass seed research, production, marketing and services based in Canby, has disputed the Department of Environmental Quality’s claims this week that they “risked(ed) human health and the environment” by alleged mismanagement of hazardous waste.

DEQ issued a civil penalty of $22,500 against Pure Seed for violations stemming from October and November of 2018, primarily related to a seed and limestone mixture that they say also contained Apron XL, a fungicide that could be harmful if consumed.

DEQ claimed the company had mislabeled this product at its facility on Barlow Road and also failed to immediately clean up spilled amounts of the material inside and outside the building.

They also said the company provided 60 cubic yards of the material to a farm in Estacada, which stored it in the open in a “large pile” and allowed cattle to graze on and around it.

In response, Pure Seed provided the following statement to the Canby Now Podcast, which disputes many of the state’s claims, including that there was ever any harm to people, animals or the environment.

Pure Seed has been an outstanding member and employer of the Canby area ag community for over five decades. At Pure Seed, we produce, process and ship seed to more than 50 countries around the world. We also coat and package grass seed for the USA retail market.

Late 2018, the Oregon Department of Agriculture brought to our team’s attention that, due to a technicality, byproduct was being mislabeled coming out of our coating facility. This material was largely organic matter with trace elements of soil enhancers — promoting soil and plant health, NOT degradation.

Despite our disagreement with ODA and DEQ, our team acted promptly and thoroughly to have this matter resolved within days. We took full responsibility and took every necessary action to assure this issue was resolved. There was zero harm to the environment.

Though the company had the option to appeal the matter after receiving the DEQ letter in February, Marketing Director Nick Layton said they chose not to do so because they felt it wasn’t worth the fight.

“We chose to fix the problem and move on,” he said.

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