Headquarters Office
12300 Lower Azusa Road
Arcadia, CA 91006-5872
(626) 575-5471

South Gate Office
11012 South Garfield Ave.
South Gate, CA 90280
(562) 622-0402

L.A. County Online
Frequently Asked Questions
Last Updated: 05/10

Administrative Services Bureau

Environmental Protection Bureau

Environmental Toxicology Bureau

Pest Exclusion/Produce Quality Bureau

Weed Hazard & Pest Management Bureau

Weights & Measures Bureau

Questions and Answers

Q. How does the County's hiring process work?
A. To view the County's hiring process please go to http://hr.co.la.ca.us/.
 
Q. How may I obtain the required licenses for the Agricultural / Weights & Measures inspector position?
A. The State of California offers licensing examinations twice a year. You may obtain licensing information by contacting (916) 654-0422.
 
Q. How may I submit a question to the Human Resources Division in Agricultural Commissioner / Weights & Measures Department for an e-mail reply?
A. Please submit your questions to http://acwm.co.la.ca.us/scripts/fbasb.cfm.
 
Q. What are the fringe benefits that come with employment at the Agricultural Commissioner / Weights & Measures Department?
A. Flexible benefit options are available on selected positions that may include paid sick leave, vacation, holidays, medical and dental plans, retirement plans, deferred compensation plans, life insurance, credit union membership, mileage reimbursement, tuition reimbursement and training bonuses.
 
Q. What types of jobs are there in the Agricultural Commissioner / Weights & Measures Department?
A. We offer a variety of career opportunities in inspection, clerical, accounting, laborers, laboratory workers, pest control workers and management. To see current job openings please go to http://acwm.co.la.ca.us/scripts/jobs.cfm.
 
Q. Where and how may I apply for a job with Agricultural Commissioner / Weights & Measures?
A. You must first complete a County employment application form which can be obtained at most County office buildings and return it to the Agricultural Commissioner / Weights & Measures located at 12300 Lower Azusa Road, Arcadia, CA 91006. An employment application may be downloaded at the County Department of Human Resources' Website at http://hr.co.la.ca.us/ and click on the employment application link.
 
Q. Where might I find a listing of positions currently available?
A. Positions currently available may be found at the County of Los Angeles' Department of Human Resources website at http://hr.co.la.ca.us/.
 
Q. Do I need a license to spray on my own property?
A. Over the counter pesticides sold directly to homeowners such as the ones you buy in your neighborhood stores (Home Depot, Sav-On, etc.) do not require either a permit or certification A special permit from the Los Angeles County Agricultural Commissioner/Weights & Measures Department is required for the use, storage, and purchase of certain restricted pesticides. Certification is also required to use these pesticides. You can be certified either by obtaining the Qualified Applicator License (QAL) or the Qualified Applicator Certificate (QAC) which are issued by the Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) examination at the County Agricultural Commissioner's Office. The PAC exam is much easier than the exams for the QAL and the QAC. It is for people want to apply only on their own property. The PAC cannot be used to perform pest control work for hire. Information on the PAC license and a list of restricted use pesticides can be obtained by calling the Los Angeles County Agricultural Commissioner/Weights & Measures Department at (626) 575-5466. Restricted use and pesticide formulated for rates by acre are not intended for homeowner use.
 
Q. How do I get a copy of the Crop Report?
A. Contact the Los Angeles County Agricultural Commissioner/Weights & Measures Department, (626) 575-5472 or the Department Website: http://www.acwm.co.la.ca.us
 
Q. How do I get a SLN Number (Special Local Need)?
A. Contact your local inspector.
 
Q. How often is the exam offered?
A. Ask Los Angeles County Agricultural Commissioner/Weights & Measures Department. Los Angeles County ACWM offers the examination twice a month.
 
Q. I am having my house fumigated, what do I need to do?
A. The Fumigation company will provide a list of things that must be done.
 
Q. I have a family farm operation suffered economic damage from our recent heavy rainfall, how can I get information on the Federal emergency loan program? I also heard that there is a similar program for farms impacted by the Oriental Fruit Fly quarantine, is this true?
A. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has established emergency loan programs for family-sized farming operations impacted by either our recent heavy rainfall or the current Oriental Fruit Fly quarantine. To apply for financial assistance and guidance please contact your local Farm Service Agency office listed in the phone directory under U.S. GOVERNMENT, AGRICULTURE. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication to obtain program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA's Target Center at (202) 702-2600 (voice and TDD). For additional information on these program, please visit the USDA website at www.fsa.usda.gov/pas/disaster/assistance1.htm.
 
Q. Is this pesticide dangerous to the health of my family and myself?
A. All pesticides are poisons. Some are more toxic than others. The label indicates this by the signal word. The least toxic pesticide is CAUTION, then WARNING, then DANGER. Often the problem can be controlled by mechanical and cultural means, changing the environment so that it is not suitable for pest survival, sanitation, etc. If you have to use pesticides, read the label very carefully and follow the instructions.
 
Q. What is AG DAY LA?
A. Currently, it is an annual event to provide a "hands-on" education experience to our local students on where their food, water, and clothing actually comes from. A variety of different stations are set up so that the students get to see first hand where milk comes from, learn about the different food groups, see how cotton and wool are turned into fiber/clothing, how our water is shipped from the north to the south, honeybees and exotic insect pests impact agriculture, how community gardens can exist in urban settings, and to actually touch real farm animals. This Department, along with Los Angeles County Farm Bureau, California Women for Agriculture, and the 48th District Agricultural Association, was one of the founding organizations in the creation of this program. Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich is one of the main supporters of the annual event. You can get more information about AG DAY LA by visiting their website at www.agdayla.org.
 
Q. What is the difference between a pesticide and household chemical?
A. Pesticides are agents used to control pests (animals, insects, weeds, etc.) To identify whether a household chemical is a pesticide or not is by looking at the product label that is affixed to the container. All pesticide labels contain what is known as EPA Registration Number (EPA Reg. No.).
 
Q. What licenses do I need to start a pest control business?
A. If you plan to do agricultural pest control work, there are two types of licences. The Maintenance Gardener Business License is for people who perform pest control incidental to their gardening business. Prior to applying for the business license, you must obtain a Qualified Applicator Certificate (QAC) in the maintenance gardener category (Category Q). The Pest Control Business (PCB) License is required of any person who engages for hire in the business of pest control. A Qualified Applicator License (QAL) is required in order to apply for the PCB License. The exams for both QAC and QAL are administered by the Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR). The Business Licenses are also issued by DPR. For further information, you may call the licensing section at (916) 445-4038 or visit www.cdpr.ca.gov. You can also hire a QAL to qualify your business for a state license.
 
Q. Where can I go to see if this Pest Control Company is registered with Los Angeles County?
A. Call the Pesticide Division at the Los Angeles County Agricultural Commissioner/Weights & Measures Department at (626) 575-5466.
 
Q. Where do I complain about a fumigation company?
A. 1. Contact the Los Angeles County Agricultural Commissioner/Weights & Measures Department at (626) 575-5466., http://www.acwm.co.la.ca.us 2. Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) http://www.cdpr.ca.gov/
 
Q. Where do I complain about a neighbor spraying illegal pesticides?
A. 1. Contact your local Agriculture Office, 626-575-5472, http://www.acwm.co.la.ca.us 2. Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) http://www.cdpr.ca.gov/
 
Q. Where do I complain about pesticide spraying in a nursery in my neighborhood?
A. Contact the Pesticide Division of the Los Angeles County Agricultural Commissioner/Weights & Measures Department at (626) 575-5466. Nurseries can spray in accordance with the Food and Agricultural Code (FAC) and the California Code of Regulations (CCR).
 
Q. Who do I ask about adding or removing a Fruit Fly Trap?
A. We can give you the telephone number for the supervisor for the area in which you live so you can talk to them directly, or we will take your request and forward it to them.
 
Q. Who do I talk to about a certain pesticide or chemical?
A. 1. Contact the Company of the pesticide or chemical. 2. Check online sites. For example: http://www.cdpr.ca.gov/ 3. Contact the Los Angeles County Agricultural Commissioner/Weights & Measures Department at (626) 575-5466.
 
Q. Who do I talk to about scheduling a structural branch II or III exam?
A. Contact your local Agriculture Office, 626-575-5472, http://www.acwm.co.la.ca.us
 
Q. Who may talk to about a Fruit Fly Trap in my tree?
A. l us in what city you live and we will have the supervisor for that area call you.
 
Q. Are you involved in the Drinking Water Studies? Is the information available?
A. We have provided analysis for several studies submitted for public knowledge. Copies of our Pilot Study on Chromium VI in drinking water is available. Other studies that have been published by private entities are available through their offices.
 
Q. Are your reports available for anyone to see?
A. No. We are hired for our analysis ability, therefore we will not release results to anyone other than the sampling party.
 
Q. Do you test for mold?
A. No. You can contact Los Angeles County Environmental Health at 1-800-427-8700.
 
Q. How much do you charge for analysis?
A. Our rates vary according to what is being analyzed and how it is being analyzed. Please call the laboratory for more detailed information on sample analysis rates.
 
Q. I have plants or a tree at my home that is dying because my neighbor sprayed it with some kind of chemical. Will you test for it?
A. We can analyze a sample brought in, for a fee, however, we cannot come out to collect it. You can contact the Environment Protection Bureau at (626) 575-5466 for further information.
 
Q. My water has a funny taste, what is in my water?
A. We can analyze a sample of your water for a fee. Please contact the Laboratory for specifications regarding sampling methods and rates.
 
Q. What are your hours?
A. We are open Monday thru Friday, 8:00 am until 5:00 pm.
 
Q. What does your laboratory test for?
A. We primarily analyze drinking water, wastewater, lead, pesticides and soil and produce. We are able to analyze for many different substances and/or contaminants. Please call the laboratory for more detailed information.
 
Q. What types of container do I use to collect my sample?
A. The rule of thumb is a glass jar for organic samples and either glass or plastic are sufficient for inorganic samples.
 
Q. How do I transport privately-owned house plants into CA from other states?
A. Please go directly to http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/phpps/pe/faq_hse_plnts.htm
 
Q. How can I become a licensed nursery?
A. A license to sell nursery stock must be obtained from the Secretary of Food and Agriculture before any sales are made. Our department can provide the application and regulations for "California's License to Sell Nursery Stock." Please complete the license application and send it with the appropriate fees to: CASHIER California Department of Food and Agriculture 1220 N Street Sacramento, CA 95814
 
Q. How can I sell at a Certified Farmers' Market?
A. Anyone growing fruits or vegetables in Los Angeles County qualifies to become a Certified Producer and participate in a Certified Farmers' Market. Becoming a Certified Producer is easy. Contact our office at 562-622-0426 to set up an appointment for inspection. An inspector will inspect your growing grounds to verify the agricultural products which are being grown. The inspector will need to know the commodity and variety being grown, quantity being grown, harvest and season, and the estimated production yield. In addition, you will be asked which counties you wish to sell in and how many embossed copies you need. The cost to become a Certified Producer is $63. Following the inspection, an embossed certificate will be mailed to your residence. This certificate must be prominently displayed at all times when selling at a Certified Farmers' Market.
 
Q. How do I become a Wholesale Produce Dealer?
A. All those who intend to operate in Los Angeles County as a wholesale produce dealer must register with our department. To register, submit an annual registration fee of $250.00 and complete the Wholesale Produce Dealer Registration application. La aplicacion de venta de productos al mayoreo esta disponible en espanol. Return you application and fee to: Agricultural Commissioner/Weights & Measures Dept Pest Exclusion & Produce Quality Bureau 11012 S. Garfield Ave. South Gate, CA 90280
 
Q. I'm moving out of state. Can I take my houseplants with me?
A. Prior to moving out of state, contact the local Agricultural Commissioner's Office at both origin and destination to determine any certification requirements for transporting houseplants. Many states have regulations regarding specific plants (citrus plants, pine trees, fruit and nut trees, etc.) regardless of whether they are grown indoors or outdoors. Most states allow the entry of privately owned houseplants that have been grown and maintained year round in an indoor setting only. They must be planted in sterile, packaged, commercial potting mix instead of soil taken from outdoor sources (no backyard soil!). Houseplants must be healthy, show no visible signs of disease and be free of surface pests. Privately owned plants maintained outdoors in pots or containers should be certified for origin, pest-free status and any quarantine requirements of the destination state. Outdoor potted plants must also be planted in sterile, packaged, commercial potting mix (no backyard or outdoor soil!). Contact the local Agricultural Commissioner's Office at both origin and destination for assistance. Whether transported in a private vehicle or a commercial moving van, houseplants must be declared to border inspectors and be readily accessible for inspection. Be advised that plants can be rejected or confiscated if they show signs of any disease or insect problem.
 
Q. What are the risks of finding target pests and introduction of new pests?
A. Los Angeles is particularly vulnerable to invasion by destructive exotic pests because we have the sixth busiest port in the world. Los Angeles could easily serve as the gateway to the entire nation for devastating plant pests and disease vectors. Such an outcome could cost billions of dollars in pest eradication efforts and threaten our nation's economy and domestic food supply. Exotic insects like the red imported fire ant, Diaprepes root weevil, and diseases like sudden oak disease pose a significant threat in urban areas such as open spaces, parks, golf courses, and landscape gardens while also threatening our native forests, flora, and fauna.
 
Q. What do I need to do to start a Certified Farmers' Market?
A. Certified Farmers' Markets (CFMs) have been found to be a benefit to small farmers and the community alike. Anyone who wishes to start a CFM must be: a. Farmer b. Non-profit organization c. Local government agency. The application must be submitted with the appropriate annual fee, which can be found in the fee schedule below. Along with the application, a map of the market layout and individual market rules must be submitted to: Agricultural Commissioner/Weights & Measures Dept., Pest Exclusion & Produce Quality Bureau, 11012 S. Garfield Ave. South Gate, CA 90280. Fee Schedule: 15 or less stalls - $408; Over 15 stalls - additional $16 per stall over 15. Applications may be mailed or faxed to you by calling 562-622-0426.
 
Q. What is a Certified Farmers' Market? Is there one near me?
A. The term "certified" used in the phrase "Certified Farmers' Markets" means that the produce is brought to the market straight from the farm, either by the farmer personally or by an employee. Only California grown produce may be certified. Los Angeles County agricultural inspectors visit and certify participating farms growing crops locally. They inspect the markets and review all farmer's papers for accuracy, thereby certifying that the farmers are only selling what they, themselves, have grown. Certified Farmers' Markets are located throughout Los Angeles County. Our website lists them by city & zip code.
 
Q. What is this insect? Or what is wrong with my plant?
A. The Department operates an Entomology and Plant Pathology Laboratory, which seeks to protect consumers by identifying pest and potential agricultural pests entering Los Angeles County through port facilities. The labs provide rapid and accurate insect pest identification supporting the Pest Detection and Exclusion programs, as well as insect pest and plant disease identification and information services for Los Angeles County residents. Overall, the labs identify over 2,300 insect and plant specimens submitted annually by quarantine inspectors, the public and pest control operators. Detailed information on some insect pests and plant diseases of concern in Southern California is available. If you would like to submit samples for identification or analysis, see the Guidelines for Submitting Samples. Or if you have questions, you can send an e-mail.
 
Q. Do I have to go to this meeting?
A. No, you do not have to attend the meeting. The meeting is a protest hearing for any property owners that object to this card or any clearance on the property, whether it be the owner or county crews.
 
Q. How much will it cost if county clears?
A. If you would like an estimate, write "I would like an estimate" in Owner's Response section.
 
Q. I don't own this property! Why are you sending this to me?
A. If Ownership Changed, please write in new owner's name and address. Please contact the Office of the Assessor at (888) 807-2111 for change of address.
 
Q. My property has a house on it and is completely landscaped! Why are you sending me this card?
A. If it is Improved and/or completely landscaped, please check box and return.
 
Q. The vacant lot/improved lot adjacent to my home is full of weeds. I am calling to report it and ask, can you do something about this?
A. If the property where the hazard exists has a structure on it, it is controlled by the local fire station and must be reported to them for action. The phone number can be found in your local phone book. Or call the Brush Clearance Unit at (626) 969-2375. If the property is vacant, we will investigate your complaint. Please leave your name, address, a daytime phone number, and an address or location of the hazard, for example, the address next door or across the street or an intersection. Also leave a short description of the hazard. Or call our office at (626) 575-5484. After we have inspected the property, we will call you with the results of our investigation.
 
Q. What do I have to clear?
A. If you want clearance requirements, write "I would like clearance requirements" in Owner's Response section.
 
Q. What do I have to do with the Declaration Response card?
A. Please complete and return the response card, checking the box, Owner will maintain property or if you want the county to clear, please write in Owner's Response section "I want the county to clear." Fill out the card with your name and phone number and return or you may respond online at http://acwm.lacounty.gov
 
Q. What is my deadline, or when do I have to clear?
A. When the inspector receives your response, he/she will send you a deadline card. If you do not clear the property by the deadline the inspector gives you, county or vendor crews will be scheduled to clear your property.
 
Q. What is the inspection fee?
A. The Board of Supervisors has authorized an inspection fee of $45.33 (Fiscal Year 2009-2010) which will be assessed against all declared unimproved properties, whether or not they are cleared by the property owner. All declared improved and unimproved properties in the City of Monterey Park will be assessed the inspection fee.
 
Q. What is this charge for?
A. This division is only responsible for the charges on your bill that are listed as LA CO HAZ ABATE. All other charges were placed on your bill by other agencies. The charge on your bill is for work done during the fiscal year prior to the tax year indicated on your tax bill. That is, work performed during the period July 1 to June 30 appears on the bill due the following November and March. If the charge is less than $47, it is an inspection fee which was authorized by the Board of Supervisors in 1989 and applied to unimproved property that is declared a hazard or potential hazard. If you did not own the property during the period in question, we cannot remove the charges until we see a copy of the grant deed showing the date of transfer. Please send us a note along with copies of the deed and your tax bill and we will respond within 30 days to your concerns. If you did own the property but believe the charges are excessive or that no work was performed, or if you have further questions, you may leave your name, address, daytime phone, a brief description of the problem and the Assessor's ID Number. We will respond within 30 days.
 
Q. What is this deadline card?
A. If you responded to our annual notice, we sent you a reminder that work needs to be done on your property before the stated date on the deadline card or the county may clear it without further notice. We hope you will be able to comply. If you want the county to abate the nuisance you need do nothing; the necessary work will be scheduled and performed with the charges placed on your property tax bill. If you want additional information we will refer you to the inspector who issued the deadline. The inspectors spend most of their time in the field. Please leave your name, daytime phone number and the Assessor's parcel number. The inspector will call you within a few days.
 
Q. When did you inspect my lot?
A. Your lot is inspected throughout the year. If you would like to speak to an inspector, please provide your parcel or Assessor's ID Number, name, and phone number; and we will forward your question to an agricultural inspector assigned to your area and he/she will contact you.
 
Q. Where is my parcel located?
A. If you have the mapbook, page number and parcel number or Assessor's Identification (ID) Number, we can look up the area or street where your parcel is located.
 
Q. Why did you clear my lot?
A. In February of each year, we send routine legal notices to each property owner requesting he/she return the response card to advise us whether owner will maintain property or requests the county to clear. If the inspector found the property to be in violation of the Los Angeles County Fire Code or a specific City Fire Code, and the owner did not respond, the inspector scheduled the parcel to be cleared. If the property owner did not respond, we are authorized by the Board of Supervisors to clear the property and add the cost of such maintenance listed as a separate item (LA CO HAZ ABATE) on the annual tax bill.
 
Q. I am starting a business that uses scales and meters for commercial transactions. Where can I obtain information on the proper use of these devices?
A. A good place to start is the CDFA's Division of Measurement Standards (DMS). They have a Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) website at: http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/dms/FAQ.htm
 
Q. I believe I was underpaid for bottles and cans I brought to the recycler. Where do I file a complaint?
A. Your have several options. You can call our toll-free number at 800 665 2900, go online and file a complaint at: http://acwm.co.la.ca.us/scripts/fbwmb.cfm or write us: Los Angeles County Agricultural Commissioner/ Weights & Measures Bureau 11012 Garfield Ave. South Gate, CA 90280
 
Q. I believe that I was overcharged at a gasoline station. Where do I report it?
A. Your have several options. You can call our toll-free number at 800 665 2900, or go online and file a complaint at: http://acwm.co.la.ca.us/scripts/gasform.cfm or write us: Los Angeles County Agricultural Commissioner/ Weights & Measures Bureau 11012 Garfield Ave. South Gate, CA 90280 Please be sure to include as much information as possible. Include the name of the station, the nearby cross streets, the city, the date of problem and a description of what happened. The pump number and grade are also needed. You may report the problem anonymously if you wish.
 
Q. If there is an overcharge, do I get that item free?
A. The retailer is not legally required to give away an item if an overcharge occurs. Some retailers do it as a matter of policy. That policy may change from time to time so look for a sign at the check-out stand or ask the manager. Note: There are instances when a retailer is placed under Court order to give away items that were the subject of an overcharge. However, this only happens when wide ranging problems have existed in that retailer's stores and civil action has been taken against the company. The retailer is then ordered to give away the item free if it scans at a higher price than posted.
 
Q. In the event I am overcharged, what should I do?
A. It is a good idea to try and work out any pricing problem with store management. Retailers are interested in correcting customer problems and are usually cooperative, and friendly. However, if you do not get satisfaction from this process, or you think the problem is something that merits reporting, then call the Price Verification Division at 1-800-665-2900. Be careful to make note of vital information about the problem. The inspector will need to know the brand, the product name, and the size (gallons, pounds, etc.) of the package. What was the price advertised versus the price charged? What is the store name and address? One of our inspectors is usually dispatched withing five working days. They will review the situation, make an undercover buy, and report back the results of the inspection if you wish. You remain anonymous. If an overcharge occurs, then an enforcement action will be taken against the business.
 
Q. Is taximeter registration mandatory?
A. Yes. This inspection is required by County Ordinance 2.40.060 which states: No person shall use or operate any weighing or measuring instrument for commercial purposes without having a current registration certificate for such instrument.
 
Q. What does CRV mean?
A. Consumers pay CRV (California Refund Value) when they purchase beverages from a retailer and are reimbursed when they redeem the container at a recycling center.
 
Q. What is the CRV value?
A. Currently, the CRV is $0.04 for every beverage container sold in the state. A beverage container with a capacity of 24 fluid ounces or more shall be considered as two beverage containers for purposes of redemption payments and refund values. (Please refer to the California Public Resources Code 14560 for more details.)
 
Q. When and where are taxicabs checked?
A. Taxicabs are checked in Los Angeles County Monday through Thursday at: Los Angeles County Agricultural Commissioner/ Weights & Measures Bureau 11012 Garfield Ave. South Gate, CA 90280 Inspections begin at 7:00 a.m. and end when the last cab in line has been checked. (Exceptions: There are no inspections on holidays.)
 
Q. Who checks the accuracy of taximeters?
A. Taximeters are checked annually by the Los Angeles County Agricultural Commissioner/ Weights & Measures Department.