Public Works
TITLE: FYI: Pesticide Management Plan Update
DEPARTMENT CONTACT: William Franz, Public Works Director
Last August, a citizen raised concerns regarding spraying of herbicide on City sidewalks by Public Works crews. Public Works immediately ceased applying this herbicide, and moved to evaluate our procedures governing the application.

More recently, the same citizen has requested information on the status of our efforts and we have answered his questions. This FYI is intended to keep you informed on the steps taken to date, and planned future actions.
Public Works performs seasonal spraying of weeds that grow in cracks along our sidewalks and curbs.  Weeds are not only unsightly (we receive many citizen calls about weeds growing in cracks) but over time if allowed to grow can actually break apart and damage paving.  When available, we use community service volunteers to manually remove weeds and vegetation from our rights-of-way, but can not even come close to dealing with the many miles of curbs and sidewalks that need such attention.  As part of a balanced approach to vegetation management, our program includes a limited use of herbicides.

The active ingredient in the herbicide that Public Works uses is glyphosate (the common ingredient in Roundup). All employees who mix and apply this herbicide have attended mandatory training, and are state certified to do so. The City's use of this herbicide is consistent with all applicable laws.  We have attached our staff's summary of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) fact-sheet on glyphosate. If you would like to view the entire United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) fact-sheet, it can be found at:

An Integrated Pest Management Plan (IPMP) governing application of pesticides was developed and adopted by City Council in 2001. This plan was intended mainly for use in parks, although Public Works has followed the plan for herbicide use in rights-of-way.

At the beginning of 2012, we purchased a truck-mounted applicator, which uses an "eye" to identify where the weeds are growing, and selectively spray the herbicide in a controlled manner. The applicator was not adjusted properly, and was applying an excessive amount (attracting the attention of the concerned citizen). Accordingly, we immediately ceased spraying, and decided to reevaluate and update the IPMP as it relates to our activities and new equipment.

The issues raised by the concerned citizen during the summer of 2012 demonstrated that the 2001 IPMP did not adequately address herbicide use in the right-of-way.  We immediately suspended all use and are currently in the process of drafting an update to this plan as it relates to use in the right-of-way. It is our intention to have a publicly reviewable draft of this updated plan in April. All identified stakeholders (including the concerned citizen), and the general public will have the opportunity to review and comment prior to plan approval. We will not resume any spraying until the IPMP has been updated and approved.

Staff have spoken several times with our National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit coordinator at the Department of Ecology about our activities and update process. They have provided beneficial feedback, and have not expressed any concerns about our actions.
Description: Type:
Staff FAQ Backup Material