Letter to the Editor: City’s pesticide spraying program does not provide adequate notice

Dear Editor:

Last night, the Lynnwood City Council voted unanimously to resume pesticide spraying of its paved streets and sidewalks that was suspended in August 2012 when it was brought to their attention that they were not in compliance with their Integrated Pest Management Plan (IPMP) and that they had been grossly overspraying.

The City’s new Vegetated IPMP allows it to return to its old ways without adequate advance notification, including the use of an unreliable spray-rig mounted to the rear end of a pickup truck to broadcast spray the herbicide glyphosate, also known as RoundUp over its streets and sidewalks. This Monsanto produced pesticide has been linked to birth defects and miscarriages even in low concentrations.

The City’s plan is to immediately resume wholesale broadcast spraying of its paved streets, sidewalks, and bicycle paths to treat minor, aesthetic weed growth in pavement cracks and joints. The City refused to only use non-toxic alternatives such as string trimmers, weed burners, or simply repairing the crack or joint so there is no weed problem. The Public Works Dept. feels that these methods are too expensive and it is cheaper to gamble with people’s health and the environment rather than swearing off cheap pesticide addiction.

The City will allow local residents to “Opt-Out” of having pesticides sprayed directly in front of their property; however the City will continue to spray right up to their property line allowing these pesticide to drift or run down the curb gutter and directly into storm drains with no treatment or where it can be tracked into their homes.

The Opt-Out plan has been poorly communicated to City residents and the City has no plan as to exactly how it will administer the Opt-Out program to assure that the resident’s No-Spray request is being honored. Citizens and visitors riding bicycles or walking through Lynnwood must navigate a difficult to use website to find out what areas of the City will be sprayed and then do a Public Disclosure Act request and sift through a huge stack of Pesticide Application Forms to find out exactly where the pesticides were actually sprayed.

The City will not post warning signs in advance of any pesticide spraying as their old IPMP required; the City considers posting warning signs as too costly; and likely they do not want their residents finding out about the spraying for fear of the backlash it would create.

I will be looking for volunteers to help pass out leaflets warning residents in Lynnwood in advance of the upcoming spraying, informing them of the hazards of RoundUp, and informing them of their right to Opt-Out of the City’s pesticide spraying program.

William (Bill) Lider, PE, CESCL
Lider Engineering, PLLC

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