December 2016 – Each spring as lawn care companies start their outdoor work, homeowners typically begin calling the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA) to learn how to be notified before pesticides are applied near their homes. Unfortunately, spring is too late; to be included on Maine's formal notification registry, citizens must apply by December 31 for notification the following year.
So MOFGA reminds Mainers to sign up by December 31, 2016, for the Maine Board of Pesticides Control (BPC) 2017 pesticide notification registry. Participating allows registrants to be notified before pesticides are used within 250 feet of their homes. Notification is restricted to outdoor, nonagricultural pesticide uses and requires that the registrant pay a $20 annual fee, which may be waived if financial hardship is demonstrated.
Commercial pesticide applicators use the registry to notify participants of pesticide applications between six hours and 14 days in advance. Applicators must also provide the location, application date and time, and names and EPA registration numbers for all pesticides that will be applied. This registry does not apply to aerial spraying.
From 2009 to 2012, MOFGA worked with both the Legislature and the BPC to create a free, comprehensive, workable notification registry. In 2010 the Maine Legislature passed a law to create such a registry for all outdoor pesticide applications. However, the Legislature repealed that law in 2011, after which the BPC decided not to work with legislators to refine and continue to offer a free, comprehensive registry for Maine citizens. MOFGA encourages those who think the BPC should offer a free registry to communicate that to the BPC and to their state legislators.
You can download the application for the nonagricultural notification registry at http://www.maine.gov/dacf/php/pesticides/public/notification.shtml. It is also available by emailing email@example.com or calling 207-287-2731.
For more extensive notification, Maine citizens can also make a "Request for Notification" about pending pesticide applications. If you live or work within 500 feet (1,000 feet for aerial applications) of any outdoor area (including businesses, homes, farms, forestland, institutions and public spaces) treated with pesticides by anyone, you are entitled to be informed about pesticide applications, including what is being used and when. Simply make a clear request that neighbors provide information regarding pesticide applications and/or notification before those applications are made.
Details about these two notification options, including links to Maine law regarding pesticide notification, appear at
To learn about alternatives to synthetic pesticide (and fertilizer) applications to lawns, see MOFGA's fact sheet, "Establishing and Caring for an Organic Lawn" (http://www.mofga.org/Publications/FactSheets/tabid/133/Default.aspx). To find an Organic Land Care Professional accredited by the Northeast Organic Farming Association, see