City: Keep pesticides out of system

Banned chemical still shows up in water samples
By: Jenifer Gee Journal News Editor
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Auburn city officials are putting a harmful pesticide on the watch list. “Diazinon was banned in 2004,” said Bernie Schroeder, manager of the city of Auburn’s engineering division said. However, some homeowners still have the chemical from pre-2004-ban purchases, Schroeder said. “A lot of people don’t realize Diazinon is as harmful as it is,” Schroeder said. This spring, the city is continuing its Healthy Auburn Waters campaign to let residents know how they can properly care for this garden and how the safest way to dispose of pesticides and other yard-related chemicals. Schroeder said despite the ban, the chemical still shows up in wastewater treatment plant samples and has been detected three times since 2005 and most recently in May 2009. If a tablespoon of the chemical were poured into an Olympic size pool, it would be detectable and a violation, Schroeder said. The chemical’s other trade names include Basudin, Dazzel, Gardentox, Kayazol, Knox Out, Nucidol, and Spectracide. Ultimately, Schroeder said the chemical could damage aquatic life in Auburn Ravine, where plant water is discharged. Also, when a “hit” shows up in a treatment plant sample, the city is fined a minimum of $3,000, Schroeder said. “We want to remind residents how to property mix, apply and dispose of pesticides to keep these products out of the rivers and creeks,” Schroeder said. “We all need to work on keeping the environment healthy for future generations.” Jenifer Gee can be reached at