Lane County Residents Try DIY Pesticide Testing

Jun 7, 2012

A group of Lane County residents has formed an unusual partnership to test streams for chemicals. The residents are worried that herbicides sprayed onto clear-cut forests are drifting into nearby waters. Amelia Templeton of Earthfix reports.

Bobbi Lindberg spent 18 years working with the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality. She says she was frustrated when the DEQ cancelled a study that would have looked for pesticides in the streams of the Siuslaw Basin, near Eugene.

Lindberg: “There was no information about whether pesticides were getting in the water or not. And I felt that was an important issue both in terms of the people who live in that basin and the fish.”

A DEQ official says the agency is short on resources and didn’t think it would learn enough from the study. Lindberg retired last fall. And a group of local residents raised $8,000 to help her complete the tests.

An Idaho lab just analyzed the results. It found atrazine and hexazinone in the samples. Those two herbicides are commonly used in forestry and agriculture.

Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network