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Pesticide collections continue to rise posted on 07/02/2018

The seemingly impossible task of removing dangerous chemicals from our environment has been taken up by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (ODEQ). And the results have been impressive.

In June, a pesticide collection in Clackamas County collected 19,500 pounds of old, unusable, or restricted pesticides, according to Clackamas Soil and Water Conservation District Program Manager Lisa Kilders.

“Surprisingly, the quantities collected at these events remain steady,” Kilders wrote in an email to The Mountain Times. “Since 2007, the total quantity of pesticides collected at events held in Clackamas County equals 151,915 pounds. That is just slightly less than 76 tons.”

Agricultural, commercial, and institutional pesticide users took advantage of the opportunity to get rid of their chemicals at no cost to them.

Without the ODEQ event, many pesticides would remain, creating the possibility of spreading chemicals into the environment. Kilders pointed out that these chemicals exist for many reasons, such as some land owners inherited old pesticides when a farming operation closed down, while others discovered stores of chemicals when they purchased a business or property. Also, with the passage of time, some chemicals have become restricted or expire and can no longer be applied.

The free event allows farmers the chance to responsibly get rid of old pesticides instead of mixing them and needlessly spraying them somewhere just to get rid of the product.

The pesticide collection events, held across Oregon, are funded generally from grants, as was the case with the June event in Molalla. The event is successful because of partners working together. The city of Molalla opened Bolander Field, outreach and advertising were provided by the Clackamas and Marion Soil and Water Conservation Districts. ODEQ handled disposal funds and coordinated with Clean Harbors, the disposal company.

Protecting water quality is a team effort, Kilders noted.

Larry Berteau/MT
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