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Reducing Herbicide Use in the Ozarks
Electric utilities throughout the Ozarks are presently using a combination of herbicides to kill the native plants, trees, and shrubs that grow beneath the power lines throughout our region. Thousands of miles of Right of Ways (ROW’s) are being sprayed, causing harm to a wide range of species. Chemical residues from herbicides wash into area creeks, ponds, springs, wells, and groundwater.
A recent report from the US Geological Survey Commission titled “Man Made Organic Compounds in Source Water” states that, “Little is known about the potential effects of most herbicide degradates on human health. The common occurrence of mixtures of compounds means that the total combined toxicity in source water may be greater than that of any single compound that is present. The report goes on to warn, “Continued research is needed because human-health benchmarks are based on toxicity data for individual compounds, and the additive or synergistic effects of mixtures of compounds at low levels are not well understood.” The report advises an emphasis on watershed management and source-water protection. *Kingsbury, Delzer, and Hamilton, USGS 2008
The Ozark Mountains have thin porous soils. The underlying limestone karst is full of cracks and caves where surface water runs directly into groundwater. We depend on springs, seeps, and wells for our drinking water. We all live downstream.
CALL OR WRITE YOUR ELECTRIC COMPANY. ASK THAT YOUR RIGHT OF WAY (ROW) BE PERMANENTLY NOTED, “NO SPRAY”.
To be certain that your land does not get sprayed, you may also want to post your electric right of way with signs. Talk to your neighbors. Keep an eye out for electric maintenance crews or subcontractors in your area. For your added protection, you may want to communicate your concerns in writing, and keep a record. Go to http://grassrootsozark.net/forum/herbicides for signs, information, and resources.
If you observe a crew spraying near creeks or waterways, or, washing equipment in a stream, please report this to the Arkansas Plant Board (501) 225-1598, and, The Arkansas Dept. of Environmental Quality (501) 682-0657 Please include photographs of possible violations if available.