Pesticide and Fertilizer Permits
Anyone interested in starting a business that involves selling or using pesticides (herbicides, insecticides, miticides, etc.) should contact the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) to determine if, and what type of, a license may be required.
Many people involved in the pesticide industry are required to obtain at least one of 12 different pesticide licenses issued by the WSDA, some of which are described in this section. A licensee may only perform the technical activities (agricultural weed control, aquatic weed control, structural pest control, etc.) for which they have been certified. A person becomes certified by passing the exam(s) requirements established by WSDA.
WSDA occasionally requires permits (as opposed to licenses) for applying certain pesticides. These permits generally cover certain geographical areas and times of the year. You will need to contact WSDA to determine if your situation requires a permit.
In addition to the WSDA's licensing requirements, the Department of Revenue requires that a business selling or distributing pesticides has a Pesticide Dealer endorsement to their Business License. To apply for this Business License, contact Business License Service at 1-800-451-7985. Before this license can be issued, a Pesticide Dealer must confirm employment of a WSDA licensed Pesticide Dealer Manger.
Before pesticides are used in or near water, a General NPDES Aquatic Pesticide Permit from the Department of Ecology will likely be required. Contact Ecology's Water Quality devision at (800) 633-6193.
Some cities and counties also have special requirements related to pesticide use, so it is important to check with them especially when considering pesticide use in sensitive areas (wetlands, surface waters, groundwater recharge areas, etc.).
For additional information about licenses, contact WSDA's Pesticide Management Division - Toll Free 1-877-301-4555.
- Commercial Applicator License: Applying pesticides to the lands/property of another requires the Commercial Applicator License. This is a joint company - person license. The person who makes the pesticide application decisions for the company must obtain the license.
- Commercial Fertilizer Registration: No person may distribute in this state a commercial fertilizer until it has been registered with the Washington Department of Agriculture (WSDA) by the producer, importer, or packager of that product.
An additional registration requirement for waste-derived fertilizers was added to the fertilizer law in 1998. Waste-derived and micronutrient fertilizers must go through a Department of Ecology review before being registered by WSDA.
- Commercial Operator License: Applying pesticides to the lands/property of another while employed by a Commercial Applicator company requires the license.
- Private Applicator License: Applying or supervising the use of restricted use pesticides on your own or your employer's property for the purpose of producing an agricultural commodity.
- Private Commercial Applicators License: The purpose is to license persons who apply restricted use pesticides to their own or their employer's property for a purpose other than the production of an agricultural commodity. This may include private golf courses, wood treatment plants and grain storage bins when the grain is owned by the employer.
- Public Operator License: Applying a pesticide as a government employee.