Officers in Narromine and Warren targeting spray drift

Farmers in Narromine and Warren may receive a visit from the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) this week as part of a targeted education and compliance campaign aimed at reducing incidents of spray drift.

NSW EPA Executive Director of Regulatory Operations, Carmen Dwyer said EPA officers will engage with farmers to remind them of their obligations to prevent pesticide misuse.

“The impacts of spray-drift on the farming community and environment are devastating, costing millions and damaging crops and our natural environment,” Ms Dwyer said.

“We want to remind major cropping areas that they need to always be taking appropriate precautions to prevent potential impacts to their neighbour or community.

“Everyone that uses these pesticides have both a legal and moral obligation to stop the drift.

“This season the EPA has received 13 reports of impacts to crops due to suspected pesticide overspray and we have investigated or are investigating all of them.

“This week our officers will be reviewing spraying practices, pesticides in storage, record-keeping and providing advice and resources to local growers.

“Most spray drift incidents occur when the applicator shows little regard for the weather conditions or neighbouring crops and this needs to stop.

"We have also served legal notices on insurance companies requesting information to help us identify hot spot areas for spray drift and anyone who has had multiple complaints made against them for pesticide misuse.

“Additionally, we’re collecting records from a number of aerial and ground applicators to advise us on locations and weather conditions during spraying.

“There is no suggestion these applicators have done anything wrong however we’re checking their operations are compliant and will take regulatory action if required.

“Growers want to have access to the best and most effective pesticides, herbicides and insecticides available, so we’re asking everyone to follow the letter of the law and use these chemicals responsibly.

“We look forward to working with the Macquarie Valley community this week and encourage farmers to report any alleged pesticide misuse immediately so we can investigate.”

The NSW EPA is engaging with peak industry bodies, landholders and agronomists to better understand the impacts, challenges and factors leading to an increase in spray drift events this season.

In NSW, it is illegal to use pesticides in a way that could injure people or cause damage or harm to properties, plants and animals that are not the target pest species.

Those found to have wilfully or negligently caused damage, harm or injury through pesticide misuse can face fines of up to $120,000 for an individual and $250,000 for a company under the Pesticides Act 1999.

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