Urban Pesticides, San Francisco Estuary Partnership (PDF) by ifs10909


									                         URBAN PESTICIDES
                         The San Francisco Estuary Partnership (SFEP) supports a nationally unique effort to reduce widespread pesticide toxicity in urban creeks. The problems
                         are complex: although major contributors to urban creek toxicity were phased out by 2004, the pyrethroid pesticides (synthetic pesticides based on com-
                         pounds in chrysanthemum flowers, but much stronger and more toxic) that replaced them created a new toxicity problem. Local agencies responsible for
                         resolving toxicity in their jurisdictions could not directly control pesticide use, and they were frustrated that one pesticide toxicity problem had given way to

SFEP approaches this difficult problem by working to bridge water quality and pesticide regulation. SFEP’s Urban Pesticide Pollution Prevention Project educates pesticide regula-
tors about water quality and water quality managers about pesticides. The project tracks regulatory processes for pesticides of concern to surface water quality, connects new
scientific and monitoring data to regulatory reviews, and helps local governments get involved in those processes. The project’s consistent voice for urban water quality has helped
to change the way pesticides are regulated at both the California and Federal levels.

THE NATIONAL ESTUARY PROGRAM IN ACTION                                                                                     San Francisco Estuar y Par tnership
In California, pesticide-related       most common pest problem,             creeks at concentrations as low
toxicity is more severe—and            ants, in homes and buildings.         as 10 parts per trillion. A typical
more widespread—in urban ar-                                                 container of pyrethroid pesticide
eas than in agricultural areas.        Ant control in California often in-   can contaminate up to 50 billion
Currently, most toxicity comes         volves spraying pyrethroids on a      gallons of water. Even rigorously
from pyrethroids. Generic pyre-        wide band (up to 10 feet) around      following label instructions does
throid names often end in ‘-thrin,’    a building. These perimeter           not always prevent pollution and
such as bifenthrin and cyper-          sprays, which are usually ap-         toxicity in local creeks.
methrin, and they are sold under       plied by professional applicators,
hundreds of formulations and           often cover impervious surfaces,      The root cause of this toxicity
brand names. Pyrethroids are           and runoff can bring pesticides       can be traced back to a regula-
widely used nationwide, but tox-       to storm drains and creeks.           tory gap. Because the way pesti-
icity measurements and data are        While the wash-off fraction may       cide laws are implemented
still rare outside of California. In   be tiny (perhaps less than 1% of      doesn’t fully take water quali-
California, pyrethroids are pri-       the total application), pyrethroids   ty—particularly urban water
marily used to control the state’s     can be toxic to aquatic life in       quality—into account, pesticides

EFFECTIVE                              •             EFFICIENT                           •               ADAPTIVE                       •             C O L L A B O R AT I V E
                                         for water quality. This screening     supports communication, edu-         directly   to   waterways. The       changes to pesticide regulation
                                         is a significant task: at the state   cation, and collaboration among      SFEP’s Urban Pesticide Pollution     at a national level.
                                         level alone, California’s Depart-     stormwater      and   wastewater     Prevention Project has affected
                                         ment of Pesticide Regulation          agencies, pesticide regulators,      the uses of a wide range of pes-     Visit   www.sfestuary.org to
                                         manages more than 7,000 pes-          water quality agencies, pesticide    ticides, including numerous py-      learn more about this and other
                                         ticides regulatory activities each    manufacturers, concerned citi-       rethroids, pyrethrins, piperonyl     SFEP efforts.
                                         year.                                 zens, and technical experts. It      butoxide and MGK-264 (two
                                                                               holds regular meetings of a          synergists), lindane (lice treat-    EPA’s National Estuary Program
   can be registered for uses that       Once a specific pesticide item of     working group, the Urban Pesti-      ment), metaldehyde (snail bait),     (NEP) is a unique and successful
   will cause Clean Water Act viola-     interest is identified, SFEP helps    cides Committee; issues techni-      and metam-sodium (sewer sys-         coastal watershed-based program
   tions. While cities are responsible   share relevant scientific infor-      cal reports on annual pesticide      tem root control). More impor-       established in 1987 under the
   for pesticides in surface waters      mation and insights between           usage, science and monitoring        tantly, because of the project’s     Clean Water Act Amendments.
   under their NPDES permits, they       water quality agencies and pes-       data, and regulatory changes;        work, both California and U.S.       The NEP involves the public and
   have little direct control because    ticide regulators. Informal com-      and makes presentations to           EPA pesticide regulators have        collaborates with partners to pro-
   California law precludes local        munication facilitated by SFEP is     stakeholders.                        revised the methods they use to      tect, restore, and maintain the wa-
   government from banning or reg-       usually followed up with formal                                            assess pesticides.    Regulators     ter quality and ecological integrity
   ulating pesticides.                   letters from local agencies, in-      The regulatory process works         more commonly include water          of 28 estuaries of national signifi-
                                         cluding stormwater programs,          slowly, but it can make signifi-     quality in the scope of their risk   cance located in 18 coastal states
   SFEP’s Urban Pesticide Pollution      wastewater treatment plants,          cant changes in pesticide use.       assessments—and are more             and Puerto Rico.
   Prevention Project works to           and California’s State Water Re-      For selected pesticides, the proj-   likely to consider urban pesticide
   bridge this regulatory gap by         sources Control Board and Re-         ect’s work has secured changes       use patterns.                        For more information about the
   consistently bringing water qual-     gional Water Quality Control          in label directions to reduce re-                                         NEP go to www.epa.gov/owow/
   ity issues to pesticide regulators.   Boards, to state and Federal          leases, limited outdoor uses to      While SFEP’s Urban Pesticide         estuaries.
   The process begins with a tech-       pesticide regulators.                 spot treatments rather than          Pollution Prevention Project cur-
   nical consultant reviewing state                                            broadcast applications, and ter-     rently focuses on California, its
   and Federal pesticide regulatory      The SFEP’s Urban Pesticide Pol-       minated applications to boat         water quality communications to
   actions to find those of interest     lution Prevention Project also        hulls and other areas that drain     Federal regulators have secured

The NEP: Implementing the Clean Water Act in ways that are Effective, Efficient, Adaptive, and Collaborative.                                                     EPA-842F09001

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