1992 Sumter County Stored Pesticide Waste Pilot Survey

Summary of the Sumter County Pilot Test of the South Carolina Stored Pesticide Waste Survey

Survey conducted in 1992 by P.M. Horton, R. Poling, Greg Harvey, and R.G. Bellinger
Funding provided by SC DHEC

Sampling of Participants from Pilot-Sumter County

Based on Krejcie and Morgan's (1970) recommendations for a probabilistic sample size, a random sample of 292 names were selected from the list of certified private pesticide applicators in Sumter County. This list did contain duplication in the form of more than one individual working or living at one location. An attempt was made to eliminate this duplication as much as possible, as well as to identify any other forms of frame error, such as individuals who had died. As a result, a total of 235 questionnaires were sent. A follow-up reminder card, another complete questionnaire packet and an additional second reminder card were sent to individuals who did not respond at certain points during the data collection period. Responses were received from a total of 165 individuals, a response rate of 70.24%.

Findings from the Sumter County Pilot Test

When asked if they farmed or had ever farmed, 73.9% responded that they had. 72.1% indicated that they had used pesticides in carrying out their farming or growing activities. Only 24.2% of those responding indicated that they had waste pesticides or waste pesticide containers which they wished to dispose.

When asked what one farming or growing activity lead to the generation of the waste pesticide, 67.6% of those responding to the question indicated growing agricultural crops or commodities. Homeowner grown vegetables or ornamental plants was the answer for 24.3% and 5.4% indicated ornamental and nursery products as the activity.

Respondents were asked to indicate the one best reason why they have waste pesticides. Of those that responded to the question, 34.3% said that they had bought too much of the pesticide. An additional 17.1% indicated that they had shifted to a new product formulation for the particular control needed. Additional responses included: changed crops grown (8.6%), no longer farm( (8.6%), the pesticide is no longer legal (8.6%), didn't know they had it or don't know why they have it (5.7%), and inherited or purchased the property with the waste present when acquired (2.9%).

In terms of the amounts of waste pesticide reported, 37 (23%) of the respondents reported specific information about the waste pesticide they have. Two respondents indicated they had waste pesticides, but did not give specific information. Information about waste pesticides was requested in two major areas, solid wastes and liquid wastes. Weights and volumes of waste materials were requested in terms of the size of the container in which the material is stored.

There were 2118 pounds of solid waste pesticides reported. Respondents indicated that, of that total, 95.5% (2023 pounds) were known materials. The remaining materials were not identifiable by respondents. When asked to identify the type of container in which the solid materials were stored, respondents indicated that 96.8% (2051 pounds) of the total solid waste materials were in paper or cardboard containers. Metal containers were reported for only 1.8% (37 pounds) of the materials, plastics 1.4% (29 pounds) and glass containers less than .05% (1 pound).

Respondents were also asked to indicate the condition of the containers. Based on the percentage of total materials stored in each type of containers, the following represents the amount found in containers described as in Good, Fair or Poor condition. one hundred percent of the materials stored in glass containers (1 pound) was reported to be stored in containers in Good condition. 65.5 percent of the material stored in plastic containers (19 pounds) were in containers in Good condition and 34.5% (10 pounds) in Fair condition. For solid materials stored in metal containers, 94.6% (35 pounds) was stored in Good condition containers and the rest (3.4% or 2 pounds) in containers in fair condition. 73% of the material stored in paper or cardboard containers (1497 pounds) was reported to be in containers in Poor condition. Material stored in Fair condition paper containers made up 15.4% (315 pounds) of the total and material stored in Good condition paper containers 11.6% (239 pounds).

There were 1226.4 gallons of liquid waste pesticides reported. Respondents indicated that, of that total, 52.2% (640 gallons) were known materials. The remaining materials (47.8% or 586.4 gallons) were not identifiable by respondents. When asked to identify the type of container in which the liquid materials were stored, respondents indicated that 59.6% (731.4 gallons) of the total solid waste materials were in metal containers. Plastic containers were reported for 39.9% (489.5 gallons) of the materials, glass containers .4% (4.5 gallons) and paper or cardboard containers less than .1% (1 gallon).

Respondents were also asked to indicate the condition of the liquid waste containers. Based on the percentage of total materials stored in each type of containers, the following represents the amount found in containers described as in Good, Fair or Poor condition. One hundred percent of the liquid materials stored in glass containers (4.5 gallons) and paper or cardboard containers (1 gallon) was reported to be stored in containers in Good condition. 42.1 percent of the material (206.25 gallons) stored in plastic containers were in containers in Fair condition, 39.1% (191.25 gallons) in Good condition and 18.8% (92 gallons) in containers in Poor condition. For liquid materials stored in metal containers, 45.9% (335.5 gallons) were stored in Poor condition containers, 42.4% (310 gallons) in containers identified as being in Fair condition and the rest (11.7% or 85.875 gallons) in containers in Good condition.