Wash. Pesticide Event Highlights Proper Disposal

A free agricultural pesticide collection event in Yakima County, Ore., collected more than 37,000 pounds of pesticides. Not all the chemicals were from recent crops: One client brought in a canvas and metal applicator backpack used to spray a dust form of pesticide, dating back to the 1930s, according to the Yakima Herald.

Improper disposal of pesticides can lead to groundwater and soil contamination. Photo: Teamsugar.com

Improper disposal of pesticides can lead to groundwater and soil contamination. Photo: Teamsugar.com

The amount of participants almost doubled from the previous year. Officials attribute its success to a recent investigation of an illegal dump site discovered near Grandview, Ore. Almost 150 containers were buried, which held household garbage, petroleum products and pesticides.

Higher than normal levels of dimethoate, carbaryl and glyphosate (the active ingredient in Round-up) were found near the two-acre burial site.

This dump lead to “hot spots” of contaminated soil and water, which the Department of Agriculture, the state Department of Ecology and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency continue to investigate.

The Yakima collection event brings to light important issues about the proper disposal of pesticides, namely that these materials do not belong in the ground, where they can leach into the soil and water table.

Additionally, knowing what your local event specifically collects is important, as many products were not accepted because they were a household-grade chemical.

The pesticides collected at the Yakima event were packaged and shipped to a federally owned facility for safe disposal.

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