By Tom Davis
The Department of Environmental Protection has fined Zapp Termite and Pest Control, and its owner, Vincent K. Taylor, $495,000 for misapplying pesticides at numerous locations in Monmouth and Middlesex counties, including the Cliffwood Beach McDonald's on Route 35.
The DEP has also revoked the firm’s pesticide applicator business license and Taylor’s commercial pesticide applicator license.
The firm repeatedly misused pesticides in and near food preparation areas, including near kitchen sinks, refrigerators, and in dining areas; applied pesticides too frequently; or used pesticides designed for outdoor use in indoor situations, according to a press release by the DEP.
“While we have not received any reports that anyone was directly harmed, the manner in which Zapp misapplied these pesticides had the potential to expose people to harmful levels of these products,” said John Giordano, DEP’s Assistant Commissioner for Compliance and Enforcement. “To make matters worse, the firm repeatedly failed to provide consumers with required safety information that is designed to ensure their safety when these products are used.”
As a result of a complaint from a resident, the DEP sent inspectors to locations treated by the firm. The DEP investigation found that the company failed to provide required written information that provides consumers with the dates of application; the chemical and brand names of the pesticides to be used; label safety instructions; information about the name and location of the applicator business; and the telephone numbers for the National Pesticide Information Center, the New Jersey Poison Information and Education System and the New Jersey Pesticide Control Program.
Inspectors determined that the firm failed to keep a list of the chemicals it stores on-site and that employees transported pesticides in vehicles that lacked required safety equipment in the event of an accident, including equipment to contain spills and extinguish fires. Inspectors also observed employees of the firm using improperly marked containers of pesticides.
Other Monmouth County locations where the pesticides were used include Perkins in Neptune, H&R Block in Asbury Park, Rodeio Grill in West Long Branch, El Oxaqueno in Long Branch, two Neptune McDonald's locations and Red Bank Housing Authority units.