SLO County DA announces $575,000 settlement with pesticide company

By JOSH FRIEDMAN

The San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office, along with 16 other California DA’s offices, have reached a $575,000 settlement with a pesticide company over repeated regulatory violations and unfair business practices. 

Pestmaster Services LP, formerly known as Pestmaster Services Inc., is a nationally franchised company headquartered in Reno, Nevada. The company holds many government contracts for pesticide work in the Western United States, according to the SLO County District Attorney’s Office. 

In a civil case brought by the 17 DAs against Pestmaster Service LP and its founder, Jeffrey Van Diepen, a stipulated judgement has been reached that requires the defendants to pay $575,000 in penalties and costs. The settlement also requires Pestmaster Services to contract out training for their employees; give prior notice to county officials of pesticide applications; hire an outside compliance manager; and comply with all laws. Additionally, Van Diepen must surrender his California pest control licenses. 

Van Diepen and Pestmaster Services admitted to performing structural pest control work without a valid license; performing pesticide applications for hire without registering with the county agricultural commissioner; performing pesticide applications without submitting monthly pesticide user reports; failing to ensure employees were trained as required by law and that they used all necessary personal protective equipment; allowing unlicensed or improperly licensed individuals to contract for structural pest control work; failing to leave required notice at a property where a pesticide application was made; and making misleading statements in a 2015 proposal to the Department of Veteran Affairs indicating the company’s policies and procedures compiled with local, state and federal regulations. 

The structural pest control work that was performed without a license spanned from Nov. 21, 2017 through Jan. 3, 2018 and Oct. 15, 2020 through Jan. 27, 2021. Van Diepen also admitted to making recommendations for the use of pesticides without having a pest control advisor license and without registering with the county agricultural commissioner. 

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