Department of Agriculture/Weights & Measures Report

Written By: Department of Agriculture/Weights & Measures
Published: December 2, 2018

Asian Citrus Psyllid Detection Trapping Program

The Sonoma County Department of Agriculture/Weights & Measures has begun seasonal trapping for the Asian Citrus Psyllid (ACP). This is the third season traps have been deployed for this pest. Starting November 1st and continuing through the end of April, yellow panel sticky traps can be found throughout urban areas of the county in an effort to detect ACP, Diaphorina citri.

ACP was first detected in the United States in Palm Beach County, Florida, in 1998. In 2008, the pest was discovered in southern California. Over the past decade, ACP presence has carried as far north as Napa, Yolo, and Sacramento Counties. The biggest threat ACP poses is its ability to vector, or transmit, diseases from one citrus tree to another. Just like the threat of the Glassy-winged Sharpshooter vectoring Pierce’s Disease, the ACP is a very effective vector for transmitting the bacterium Candidatus liberibacteri spp, a bacteria known to cause Huanglongbing (HLB). HLB, also known as citrus greening disease or yellow shoot disease, is a very destructive bacterial disease. When infected with HLB, citrus trees exhibit symptoms such as yellow molting leaves, premature defoliation, root decay, stunted growth, bitter and irregular fruit shape, and eventual plant death.

To detect the presence of ACP in Sonoma County, the Department has deployed and monitors 350+ ACP detection traps. These traps are serviced and thoroughly inspected monthly to detect any presence of this citrus damaging pest. To date, ACP and HLB have not been detected in Sonoma County. Our insect detection and trapping programs, whether we are monitoring for ACP, European Grapevine Moth, or the medfly, allow us early detection and quick response if a pest is introduced into Sonoma County. Since we are following strict California Department of Food and Agriculture protocols, another benefit of the trapping programs administered by the Department is the ability to declare our county free from these pests. This is extremely important to our growers who export out of Sonoma County.

Renewal Reminder

A quick reminder that it will soon be the season to renew your Restricted Materials Permit/Operator ID Number if it expires in 2018. Growers should have received a reminder from the Sonoma County Department of Agriculture/Weights & Measures to make an appointment for renewal. Our first appointment day for the season is December 10th. If you also need to renew a state license, such as a QAC, QAL, PCA, or a pest control business license, please submit the renewal information to the California Department of Pesticide Regulation as soon as possible.

A reminder to vineyard managers: you must renew your DPR business license before we can renew your Restricted Materials Permit/Operator ID Number.

Please call (707) 565-2371 to schedule an appointment. Please note appointments are required; “walk ins” will not be accepted.

Fuel Quality Testing

California law requires that the Department of Agriculture/Weights & Measures investigate and respond to all fuel quality complaints reported by Sonoma County residents. In a given year, concerned residents file a handful of fuel quality complaints about suspect fuel with the Department, ranging from suspected water in the fuel to suspected substandard fuel sold at local fuel stations.

During a complaint investigation, staff starts by inspecting the fuel dispensed at the nozzle with a visual inspection of the fuel to determine the presence of sediment, particulates, or water in the fuel. Staff then tests for water contamination in the storage tanks using a water-sensitive paste that can detect the presence of water, be it in suspension or solution, in the fuel. If staff can visually confirm contaminated fuel, the fuel is condemned and taken off the market.

In order to confirm fuel specification such as fuel makeup, content, octane rating, or flash point qualities, staff collects fuel samples and submits them to the State’s petroleum lab for official testing and analysis. The certified lab and its technicians can determine if the submitted sample meets the fuel specification standards for the particular type of fuel in question. Fuel samples failing specifications testing allows our staff to take the fuel off the market in the interest of protecting public safety.

The potential for water-contaminated fuel supplies is a real concern during flooding events, especially with fuel stations located near waterways and low-lying areas susceptible to flooding during heavy rains. Flooding raises the potential for water to contaminate underground fuel supplies. Underground fuel tanks are designed to be sealed units, but in the event of flooding, the tank’s seal integrity is only as effective as the integrity of the tank’s fill caps. Water can find its way into the underground tanks and in the process, contaminate fuel supplies and equipment. Untreated water in a storage tank is eventually pulled in to the fuel pump supplying the fuel to the dispenser that delivers fuel to a vehicle fuel tank. Consumers are advised to be cautious of where fuel is purchased during a flooding event. For questions or to report suspect fuel quality, contact the Department at (707) 565-2371.

Annual Device Registration Invoices

In mid-December of this year, the Department of Agriculture/Weights & Measures will be mailing out its annual device registration invoices to local businesses and operators of commercial devices. Owners and operators of any commercial device used to buy and sell commodities and/or provide a service are required to register their commercial device annually with the Department. The invoice will include your account number, a list of your registered commercial devices, device registration fees, and payment due date. Please pay special attention to the due date on your invoice as unpaid invoices are subject to late fees. If you have any changes to report such as a change in ownership, number of devices, or address, please contact the Department (707) 565-2371 to update your account.

Related Articles

Premium Members

To represent, protect and advance the social, economic and educational interests of the farmers and ranchers of Sonoma County.