| Oct 12, 2006


Feature Article - October 12, 2006

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Feature Article - October 12, 2006

Update on herbicides and hydro

by Jeff Green

John Bowen knows a lot about Garlon 4, and he hopes to bring that knowledge to South Frontenac some time soon.

Last week, South Frontenac Council decided to rescind their permission for Hydro One to spray Garlon 4 on hydro lines that are located on township rights-of-way. They did so in response to citizen concerns after a group of Loughborough Lake residents organised a protest at the Loughborough Lake boat launch on Perth Road .

The News sought comment from Hydro One in preparing an article on the issue for last week’s edition, “ Loughborough Lake residents oppose Hydro One herbicide spraying”, but did not receive a response before the paper went to press.

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Later in the week, John Bowen, a program officer with Hydro One based in south western Ontario , phoned the News with information about the company’s herbicide spraying program.

According to Bowen, Hydro One does not spray on private property without the express consent of the landowner. They do spray on municipal lands that are adjacent to private property with the consent of the municipality. So, once Hydro One was informed of South Frontenac Council’s decision, no more municipal land was sprayed in South Frontenac.

Bowen said that the company was still seeking permission to spray on private land in the township.

As far as the protocol the company uses in spraying the herbicide Garlon 4, Bowen said that any spraying that does not conform to the stipulations on the product label would be illegal, and Hydro One wouldn’t do it.

Garlon 4 breaks down quickly into organic compounds and is not a threat to well water, Bowen said.

When applying Garlon 4 under delivery lines, Hydro One uses a setback requirement of three metres from any open water. The spraying program in South Frontenac was being done in conjunction with a brush cutting program. The entire patch was not sprayed; the Garlon 4 was only sprayed on specific fast-growing tree species, such as poplar and ash, to suppress suckering. The herbicide is not used on low growing species, such as sumac, raspberry and juniper.

Bowen said that Hydro One will be approaching South Frontenac Council about bringing a slide show presentation to council in the new year. The show is to bring information to the new council’s attention in the hope that they will reconsider their opposition to Garlon 4 spraying, which Bowen says has undergone a comprehensive testing regime over a long period of time and has been shown to be safe and effective.

“It can be sprayed on a colony of bees, and will not harm them,” Bowen concluded.

(After reading the Frontenac News’ article from last week, John Bowen phoned back to point out that for spraying by hand in the concentrations used by Hydro One, Garlon 4 is not prohibited from use in any jurisdiction in North America. Only when used in another form is it prohibited in the state of California )

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