By Kendall Hatch/Daily News staff
The MetroWest Daily News
Posted Oct 27, 2010 @ 12:41 AM
ASHLAND — Members of the Board of Health said they will continue to work on a policy to try to police the use of toxic pesticides on town fields after a public hearing on the proposal last night.
The board presented a set of Organic Pest Management Regulations that prohibits the use of “chemical controls” except in emergencies or when allowed by a waiver.
A few audience members said the list is vague and contradicts itself.
Nick Novick, a licensed pesticide applicator and the owner of a landscaping company, said he has a “philosophical issue” with policies that only allow for organic treatments.
He said that while infusing organic treatments into a integrated pest management program is a good idea, using only organic products is problematic in terms of cost, application and practicality.
He also said the document is inconsistent in many places. He said the set of regulations offers different ways to interpret the definition of pesticide and said the circumstances under which chemical products could be used are not well-defined.
“It needs to be more explicitly spelled out,” he said.
Novick said that there have been many strides in the manufacturing of chemical products over the years to make them less dangerous, and it seems foolish to prohibit their use outright.
“There are a number of synthetic products that have a fairly benign environmental profile,” he said.
Scott Brown, a contracted pesticide applicator who works on the town’s fields, said he thought the proposed regulations wouldn’t allow him to do his job in the most efficient manner.
He said some organic products could be used to effectively treat weeds but wouldn’t work to control grubs.
Facilities Manager David Foster said the plan didn’t delegate responsibility for a number of mandates. He also questioned how the town would afford the implementation of the plan.
“We have no budget for this,” he said. “The town has no money.”
With a large field expansion project up for a possible vote at the special Town Meeting on Nov. 29, he said more work still needs to be done.
“I think we have to take a look at how we’re going to do this,” he said.
Board officials asked Brown about working under the provisions of the Children and Families Protection Act, which requires schools to minimize the use of pesticides and post advance notice if they use them on school property.
Brown said he would be happy to work with the Board to try to work out a system where he could make sure to notify the health department of any applications.
Board Vice Chairman John Reaps said the board would do more research on the proposal and contact other communiti