Last summer our county road crew sprayed the right-of-way on our road with a mixture of 2,4-D and a generic glyphosate. This is not something they do on every road or every year, but at times they spray to help with brush control.
The problem arose when they sprayed across my neighbor’s yard AND her flowers. Legally they were on the county right-of way but that was no consolation to her. Since that time she has made quite a stir, contacting every agency that would listen to her from the Dept of Ag, DNR and her state representative. According to test taken by the State Dep of Ag, some of the spray did drift onto her private property. She claims her well will be contaminated and that they have gotten sick from this incident.
This brings about an interesting topic in regards to spraying, drift, chemical mixtures and incorrect information and understandings of issues which might come about by these incidents.
One thing is certain, farmers are not the only one using herbicides. They are easily purchased at any local store to spray on our yards. Most state, county and city workers at one time or another use herbicides to help with weed control.
So what happens when some of these products leave the area where they are applied and end up, either through aerial drift, runoff or other means on some place where they are not wanted?
I have mixed feelings when it comes to the use of herbicides. I do think there is a time and a place to use them for both personal use and crops but we have strayed a long way from moderation. When someone can walk into Walmart or any farm supply store or hardware store and purchase chemicals such as glyphosate or 2,4-D, maybe the pendulum has swung too far. How much knowledge do many users have on the ramifications on water supplies or storm water runoff? What keep these users from spraying much more than the recommended rate?
I normally don’t think more rules or more laws are the answer but in certain areas, this might needed. Working in water systems across Missouri, I do know these chemicals are causing issues in drinking water. At this time Atrazine is actually monitored and causes challenges for many water plants that use surface water as their source. I forsee glyphosate and 2,4-D to be the next on the list of monitored chemicals in drinking water.
So, back to my neighbor. She was part of a year with numerous reports of drift and other problems with chemicals either being sprayed where they weren’t wanted or drifting into places they shouldn’t be. Most of the issues were with dicamba and that is a whole other topic.
I normally have believed you could do as you please on your own land, as long as it stays there. What we are seeing is with the amounts and types of chemicals being used, that is almost impossible. I believe with this will come added regulation.
What do you want to see? My advice is just think twice before grabbing that jug of herbicide!