Satellite Beach bans herbicide on city property

Leading by example to help the Indian River Lagoon, Satellite Beach City Council has prohibited city workers and contractors from using glyphosate – a chemical found in the weed killer Roundup – on property owned, leased, managed or operated by the city.

Glyphosate, which can wash into the lagoon, is a source of controversy with some studies linking the chemical to increased cancer risk.

Runoff from areas exposed to herbicides containing glyphosate may be contributing to the declining health of the water bodies in and adjacent to the city, as well the area’s overall environment.

Although just a drop in the bucket considering the enormity of the problem, the trend against using dangerous chemicals as shown by the Satellite Beach ban ultimately could make a difference, said Satellite Beach Environmental Programs Coordinator Nick Sanzone.

The action is similar to measures and bans put in place or being considered in Miami, Key West and Stuart.

The city maintains approximately 7,180 feet of water frontage including stormwater ponds, not including Samsons Island and its 6,800 linear feet of waterfront. In all, excluding Samsons Island, there are approximately 50 acres of property maintained by the city, which is equivalent to 2.18 million square feet.

“The ban is for all city-maintained property, both waterfront and land locked,” Sanzone said.

The city is testing alternatives including Avenger Herbicide, Salt and Vinegar mix, Horticultural Vinegar, Mirimichi Green, Spectracide and Satellite Citrus Mix (a mix made in house by the city).

“The city can be the role model for our residents to make a change in their use of what they spray on their lawns and gardens. This could lead to is residents not buying the products that carry glyphosate and then the distributors not ordering them, removing them from the local environment through a lack of economic demand,’’ he said.

The total annual cost of chemical alternatives was estimated at $1,000 to $5,000 depending on the combination of chemicals applied and the areas being treated.

Tests are being conducted to avoid any unforeseen impacts of these organic alternatives and to get the most cost-effective result from a combination of applications.

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