The U.S. EPA has issued a final rule clarifying two specific circumstances in which a Clean Water Act permit is not required before pesticides are applied.
The two situations are: when pesticides are applied directly to water to control pests, including mosquito larvae, aquatic weeds and other pests in the water; and when pesticides are applied to control pests that are present over or near water where a portion of the pesticide will unavoidably be deposited to the water in order to target the pests effectively. After considering two rounds of public comments, EPA concluded that the Clean Water Act does not require permits in these two situations.
“This clean water rule strengthens and streamlines efforts of public health officials and communities to control pests and invasive species while maintaining important environmental safeguards,” said EPA Assistant Administrator for Water Benjamin H. Grumbles.
The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) requires that pesticides be registered by EPA before they can be sold or distributed. Before they are registered, they must undergo extensive study and review to help ensure that, when properly used, they do not cause unreasonable adverse effects on human health and the environment. Pesticide labels contain application instructions. Applications of pesticides that violate the FIFRA labels are subject to enforcement.
The final rule replaces EPA’s Interpretive Statement on the Application of Pesticides to Waters of the United States in Compliance with FIFRA, published on Feb. 1, 2005.