2020: Deepwater (New South Wales). Spraydrift

Spray operators urged to apply pesticides carefully to prevent spray drift


13 August 2020

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) is reminding spray operators to follow safety protocols and use herbicides and pesticides responsibly to avoid impacting non-target crops and the environment.

The reminder comes after separate incidents in February this year where wetlands and trees in Moree were allegedly damaged by aerial spraying and trees allegedly damaged at Deepwater 40 km north of Glen Innes.

The EPA was alerted to the alleged aerial overspray at Moree by a resident who reported dead and dying leaves on his trees, on roadside trees and trees along the nearby travelling stock route.

Several trees two kilometres away in the Gwydir Wetlands were also found to have recent pesticide spray damage, with foliage dead or burnt off, along with patches of burnt grass.

The company has been fined $1,500 by the EPA for misuse of pesticides.

A Northern Tablelands landowner was also fined $1,500 and received an official caution for allegedly damaging a neighbour’s trees and using a pesticide contrary to an approved label.

EPA Director Regulatory Operations Gary Whytcross said it was positive that both parties had since undertaken to introduce measures to improve spray drift risk assessment and management.

“The proper use of pesticides is critical to ensure the operators are safe when applying pesticides and so is the community and the environment,” Mr Whytcross said.

“Pesticides can harm the environment so all care must be taken to ensure pesticides are not used in unsuitable weather conditions that can result in the pesticides leaving the intended application site.

“Safe pesticide use relies on users following the label, applying pesticides during the appropriate weather conditions and notifying neighbours of the spraying.”

The EPA regulates the use of herbicides and pesticides in NSW, including those used in agriculture and on public land, through the Pesticides Act 1999.

The community plays an important role in helping to monitor pesticide activities. Anyone with concern or knowledge of a spray drift incident or pesticide misuse in their local area should contact the EPA’s Environment Line on 131 555.