Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association
Busy Months for Maine BPC

Maine BPC Reports \ BPC – June 2009

Busy Months for Maine BPC

The Maine Board of Pesticides Control (BPC) has for the past few months continued to address rule changes, legislation, and the ever-present rule violations and product registrations.

In June the BPC unanimously approved language changes in Chapters 10 (Definition and Terms) and 22 (Standards for Outdoor Application of Pesticides by Powered Equipment in Order to Minimize Off-Target Deposition) to create a new definition for a Sensitive Area Likely to be Occupied (SALO) and to create new standards for outdoor applications of pesticides. Both rule changes strengthen protections regarding citizens' exposure to pesticides. They also help define special protections for areas where people are likely to be present and strengthen standards for determining when drift has occurred.

The new SALO definition, posted at, includes areas likely to be occupied by humans, such as residential buildings and associated maintained areas (lawns, gardens, recreational areas and livestock management and housing areas); school buildings and associated maintained areas (playgrounds, athletic fields or courts); commercial, institutional or other structures and associated maintained areas (lawns, gardens, parking and recreational areas); maintained recreational areas (campgrounds, picnic areas, marked roadside rest areas, marked hiking trails, park and recreation facilities, athletic fields, and other areas for organized sports or recreation). Trails located on privately owned lands used by permission of the landowner are not included.

Also in June, the Maine Legislature passed LD 1293 - An Act to Require Citizen Notification of Pesticide Applications Using Aerial Spray or Air-carrier Application Equipment (posted at, sponsored by Rep. Seth Berry (D-Bowdoinham). This legislation was modeled after changes in Chapter 28 that the BPC had considered last year but abandoned after some Maine groups vociferously opposed them.

The Act will establish more rights for neighbors of people using aerial and air carrier spray equipment to learn what will be sprayed and when it will be sprayed. The legislation is a stand-alone document and does not require that the BPC initiate rulemaking for Chapter 28. Technically, the bill will go into effect this September and will require all land managers using aerial or air-blast sprayers to notify abutters of the spray area at least 90 days before the first date of pesticide application. Abutters must be notified once every three years unless a significant change occurs in the method of application and chemicals used.

This has sparked discussion about emergency or "pop-up" work such as mosquito spraying for which applicators don't know who their customers will be until just before they are called to spray. No language in the rule as currently written would allow this to happen while maintaining notification compliance.

The bill also requires that the BPC create a free registry that will allow people to sign up if they'd like to be notified of specific pesticide applications within 1320 feet (1/4 mile) of their homes. The BPC is drafting a letter with its concerns and proposed amendments to Chapter 28 to address this and other issues. Discussions are ongoing about the form of the registry, how much information it will contain, and possible amendments.

The BPC is considering how school farms and greenhouses are regulated under Chapter 27, Standards for Pesticide Application and Public Notification in Schools. When BPC staff visited a school greenhouse, an insect problem was present that school personnel did not think they could deal with without violating Chapter 27. The BPC has decided that some flexibility in the rule should be allowed for farms and/or greenhouses located away from the school buildings. They cite this as an opportunity to teach children about the proper use of pesticides. This discussion may result in proposed rule changes, which MOFGA will track closely.

The summer's rainy weather and the emergence of late blight in Long Island prompted the BPC to hold an emergency meeting in early July to amend Chapter 31 to allow aerial pesticide applicators from outside Maine to spray potatoes in Maine to guard against late blight. The amendment passed. MOFGA raised concerns about making sure those applicators have specific training about Maine's regulations about notification and drift, which the Board agreed to try to provide.

The BPC has tentatively scheduled an obsolete pesticide collection for fall 2009. Please check for the list of obsolete products and a collection date and location.

Pesticide Application Rule Violations

Kezar Falls Hardware of Parsonsfield sold general use pesticides without a license from 2003 through August 2008. Members of the BPC staff visited the store in 2005 and 2008 and provided the dealer with a license renewal packet each time. The fine levied for nearly five years of noncompliance was $200.

The BPC fined DSS Lawn Care & Maintenance of Skowhegan $450 for an August 18, 2008, incident at the Kennebec Shopping Center in Skowhegan. A passerby observed two people spraying herbicide in the cracks and alongside the curbs in the parking lot. Donald Wing, owner of DSS, told BPC staff that the substance sprayed was vinegar, but lab tests of the dead vegetation revealed that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, was present.

Pesticide Registrations

Recommendations from University of Maine cranberry specialist Charles Armstrong and requests from growers led the BPC to approve a Special Local Need [24(c)] Application to use chemigation to apply Callisto herbicide. Cranberry growers will use Callisto, a product of Syngenta Crop Protection Inc., to control broadleaf weeds. The BPC unanimously approved the request because growers will save significant time, labor and money by applying the herbicide in irrigation water compared with current methods of application.

Urban Tree Service of Rochester, New Hampshire, requested a variance to Chapter 29, Section 6, which requires a 25-foot untreated buffer zone for outdoor pesticide applications near surface waters. The request was made in order to apply dormant oil to wooly adelgid-infested hemlock trees along a stream. In April the BPC considered this request and asked the staff to determine if this was part of a larger plan with the Maine Forest Service to control this insect – which it was not, hence the approval in May. This pest cannot be controlled with dormant oil but can be slowed. The BPC likely will face this issue repeatedly in years to come.

A variance was granted to Green Thumb Lawn Service of Brewer for vegetation management on roadway curbing, sidewalks and median strips in Brewer and Veazie.

For questions or comments about BPC work, contact BPC director Henry Jennings at or 207-287-2731.

– Katy Green