EPA Pesticide Container and Containment Rule

Purpose of the Rule

December 2009

EPA published a final rule called the Pesticide Container and Containment (PCC) rule in August 2006 and made minor amendments to the rule in October 2008.

The rule seeks to:

  • Minimize human exposure to pesticides while handling containers
  • Facilitate disposal & recycling of pesticide containers
  • Protect the environment from pesticide releases at bulk storage sites and from spills & leaks when refilling/dispensing pesticides

Who Must Comply

Each of the five parts of the rule applies to different kinds of businesses. The PCC rule may affect you if you are a pesticide:

  • Registrant
  • Retailer
  • Distributor
  • Commercial applicator
  • Custom blender
  • User


The points below are key elements but do not cover every aspect and detail of the PCC rule. Refer to the final regulations for full details.

1. Key Containment Requirements   Comply by August 16, 2009

Who must comply

You may only have to comply with state pesticide containment regulations (and not the federal regulations) if your state had regulations in place by August 2006. Consult your state or tribal pesticide agency or the container-containment web site under “For More Information” to determine whether your facility is subject to state, tribal or federal containment regulations.

If you are subject to the federal pesticide containment requirements, you must comply if you handle agricultural pesticides and you are a:

  • Retailer who repackages
  • Commercial applicator
  • Custom blender

Secondary Containment Units

  • Tanks with capacities of 500 gallons (liquids) or 4,000 pounds (dry) or greater and that are stationary (fixed or in place ≥ 30 days) must be in secondary containment
  • Tanks for liquids must be anchored or elevated to prevent flotation
  • Must have a capacity of 100% if protected from precipitation or if it existed before November 2006 OR a capacity of 110% if not protected from precipitation and built after November 2006

Containment Pads

Containment pads are required for:

  • Emptying, cleaning or rinsing refillable containers
  • Dispensing pesticides from a stationary container with a capacity of 500 gallons or 4,000 pounds or greater
  • Dispensing pesticides from a transport vehicle to fill a refillable container
  • Dispensing pesticides from any other container to fill a refillable container for sale or distribution

Pads must have a capacity of at least 750 gallons or 100% of the volume of the largest container (including transport vehicles) used on the pad, whichever is less.

Both Secondary Containment & Pads

  • Must be liquid-tight and constructed of impervious, rigid materials compatible with agricultural pesticides stored
  • Must have sufficient freeboard to contain precipitation & prevent liquids from entering
  • Must be inspected monthly and repaired when necessary
  • Facilities must keep records on maintenance & monthly inspections

2. Key Refillable Container and Repackaging Requirements
Comply by August 16, 2011

Who must comply

  • If you are an independent refiller (repackage a pesticide and are not the registrant), you must comply with the requirements for stationary tanks and repackaging. Also, you are indirectly subject to the requirements for portable refillable containers
  • If you are a pesticide registrant, you must comply with the requirements for stationary tanks, portable refillable containers and repackaging

Stationary Tanks

The following requirements apply to tanks with capacities of 500 gallons (liquids) or 4,000 pounds (dry) or greater and that are stationary (fixed or in place ≥ 30 days) and that are at the facilities of independent refillers (who repackage a pesticide and are not the registrant).

These tanks must:

  • Be marked with a serial number or other identifying code
  • Have sufficient strength and durability
  • Have vents that limit evaporation
  • Have a lockable inlet/outlet valve
  • Not have external sight gauges
  • Be in secondary containment (if it holds an agricultural pesticide)
  • Be anchored or elevated to prevent flotation (if it holds an agricultural pesticide)

Portable Refillable Containers

Registrants are responsible for ensuring that portable refillable containers (minibulks, totes, shuttles, IBCs, etc.):

  • Meet certain DOT design, construction, & marking requirements
  • Are marked with a serial number or other identifying code
  • Have a one-way valve or tamper-evidence or both on all openings (other than the vent)


Any refiller (a retailer, distributor or registrant) and registrants are subject to the repackaging requirements, which include:

  • Must have a written contract between the registrant and an independent refiller
  • Both the registrant and refiller are responsible for product integrity
  • There are no regulatory limits on the size of refillable containers (Registrants might establish size limits in their contracts)
  • Registrants must develop and provide refillers with: (1) a procedure to clean refillable containers, and (2) a description of acceptable containers that meet the requirements for stationary tanks and portable refillable containers.
    (Refillers must have these documents on file)

When repackaging, a refiller must:

  • Identify the previous pesticide
  • Visually inspect to see if container is safe to use and has the required markings and openings
  • Clean the container unless the tamper evident device and/or one-way valve are intact and the container is being refilled with the same product (or the new product meets other very limited circumstances)
  • Repackage into a container identified in the registrant’s description of acceptable containers
  • Ensure that the product is properly labeled and includes his EPA establishment number and the net contents
  • Keep records on the product, date and container for each refill

3. Key Labeling Requirements   Comply by August 16, 2011

Who must comply

  • Registrants must incorporate the new language onto their labels for pesticides that are released for shipment after August 16, 2010
  • Pesticide users must follow the new container management instructions as soon as they are on the labels

New Label Statements

Labels (or containers) of nonrefillable containers will have:

  • “Nonrefillable container” statement
  • A “do not reuse” statement
  • Recycling or reconditioning instructions
  • A lot number identifying the batch
  • More detailed rinsing instructions for dilutable products in rigid containers, except for household products

Labels (or containers) of refillable containers will have:

  • A “refillable container” statement, and
  • Instructions for cleaning the container before it is recycled or disposed of (not before it is refilled)

4. Key Nonrefillable Container Requirements   Comply by August 16, 2009

Who must comply

Registrants are responsible for ensuring that their nonrefillable containers meet the standards

Nonrefillable Containers

  • For products that are in Toxicity Categories III and IV (and that are not restricted use products), the containers must meet only the basic DOT requirements in 49 CFR 173.24.

All other products (restricted use products and those in Toxicity Categories I or II) are subject to the nonrefillable container requirements. Consult the regulations to determine which of the requirements your specific product and container must comply with.
Nonrefillable containers must:

  • Meet certain DOT design, construction, and marking requirements
  • Have standard closures
  • Allow the contents to pour in a continuous stream (no “glugging”) and with a minimum amount of dripping down the outside of the container
  • Meet a “cleanability” standard, and
  • Keep records showing compliance

For More Information

Although the regulations (including the amendments) are final, EPA will be posting updated guidance and additional useful information to the PCC web site.
Click here for the complete rule, or for additional information.

Contact Info

Website Info

Qualification Statement

This project was undertaken in conjunction with the settlement of an enforcement action against Syngenta Crop Protection, LLC, taken by the US Environmental Protection Agency for alleged violations of FIFRA.