Stormwater Straight Talk: Keep pesticides out of the water

  • Published
  • Robins Public Affairs

Pesticides are useful in controlling weeds and insects, but they can be dangerous if stored or used improperly.

They can contribute to contamination of lakes, streams, and rivers through stormwater runoff. Since all pesticides have some level of toxicity, they can pose a threat to aquatic life when they get into waterbodies.

Further, pesticides in water bodies may result in contamination of drinking water, especially in Georgia, where surface water is the source for about 70 percent of public water. Pesticide containers come with labels that have instructions on proper application, as well as risks specifically associated with that pesticide.

It’s important to read the labels prior to storing or using the pesticide as there may be certain steps you should take to better protect yourself and the environment.

Aside from harming children and pets through contaminated water, pesticides can also put children and pets at risk if stored incorrectly, as they may be accidently consumed.

Risks associated with pesticides can be greatly reduced with a more conscience approach to storing and applying pesticides.

Below are some tips for keeping pesticides out of stormwater runoff and water bodies and storing them safely:

  • Keep pesticides out of reach of children and pets;
  • Store pesticides away from water sources and in places with low risks of flooding;
  • Only purchase the amount of pesticides you will use during each season;
  • Do not apply pesticides near open waterbodies or near storm drains;
  • Do not apply pesticides within 24 hours of expected rain;
  • Plant vegetation between areas of pesticide application and any water body, especially when the application area is uphill of the water body; and
  • Look for pesticides with low water solubility and high adsorption so that they are less likely to contaminate water bodies.  

Editor’s note: For more information, call 478-926-9645 or DSN 468-9645.