Village staff to alert swimmers about overuse of herbicide
- Published: June 16, 2013
Village staff will begin immediately contacting those who swam at the Gaunt Park pool from Wednesday, June 12, until it was closed late Friday afternoon on June 14, Council members decided at an emergency meeting today, Sunday, June 16, at 9 a.m. The swimmers will be alerted that a herbicide was applied inappropriately to the grass around the pool area on Wednesday morning.
The contact is necessary in case swimmers or pool-goers are experiencing symptoms linked to pesticide exposure, Council members said. The most likely symptom would be a skin rash, but other symptoms might include eye irritation, respiratory problems or gastrointestinal upset, according to Council President Judith Hempfling.
The situation is concerning but not a crisis, Council members agreed.
“Panic is not appropriate,” Council member Lori Askeland said. “What’s appropriate is being concerned and taking appropriate steps.”
If those who swam in the pool or were in the pool area are having symptoms, they are encouraged to contact their doctor or Poison Control at 1-877-325-1840, and provide the Village case number of #133997711. The herbicide used was Escalade 2.
The emergency meeting was called to determine next steps after the Village became aware that the Village Parks and Street crew had applied undiluted herbicide on the grassy area around the pool Wednesday morning due to excessive bees. Because the herbicide was applied undiluted, its strength was far greater than it should have been.
However, the herbicide is considered not harmful to humans after it dries, which would have been about two hours following the Wednesday morning application, according to Village Manager Laura Curliss, who said that by the time swimmers arrived to use the pool, the herbicide should have been harmless. She also said that immediately upon learning of the situation, Village staff contacted Poison Control, the Greene County Combined Health District, the herbicide’s manufacturer and hazardous material control experts, who all said “We should not have anything to be concerned about.”
The Village also sent water and soil samples for testing.
However, Council member Rick Walkey, a regular pool user, questioned the notion that there would be no harmful effects after the herbicide dried. He and his famly used the pool that day, and were aware of a chemical taste to the water.
“I have a lot of grave concerns” regarding what he described as “a gross misuse of this chemical.”
The Village will also use its Hyper-Reach phone system to alert neighbors of the pool of the herbicide misuse. However, according to Curliss, because Wednesday was a day with little wind, there is little likelihood that the chemical would have drifted into the neighborhood. Because pool-goers sign in when they use the pool, Village staff will consult the sign-in sheets to contact those affected, Curliss said.
Several villagers attended the meeting, with concerns about the Village using herbicides on public land. The Village already has an ordinance banning pesticide use on Village-owned land, according to Askeland, but there was confusion regarding whether an herbicide is considered a pesticide.
The pool is tentatively scheduled to reopen on Wednesday, June 19, pending the result of soil and water testing, according to Curliss.
A more detailed report of the meeting will be in the June 20 Yellow Springs News.