By Abigail Curtis, BDN Staff
Bangor Daily News news story
Got pesticides and are unsure of what to do with them? A state program aims to help, by allowing Mainers to dispose of banned or unusable pesticides next month at sites in Presque Isle, Bangor, Augusta and Portland.
According to the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry’s Board of Pesticides Control, it’s not unusual for homeowners and farmers to sometimes discover old, unusable or obsolete pesticides in the shed, garage or cellar.
Products lauded as marvels in their day, like DDT and compounds of arsenic, mercury or lead, are now banned because of the risks they pose to human health, wildlife or the environment. In other cases, still-legal pesticides can freeze or get damp and solidify, which renders them unusable. But disposing of these substances can be hard. It’s not allowed to just take them to the transfer station and people who want to do the right thing by disposing of them in an environmentally sound manner can often be discouraged to learn that this type of disposal can be very expensive, according to the website for the Maine Board of Pesticides Control.
That’s why state officials make it possible each October to do the free pesticide drop-off at locations around the state.
“It’s important for the protection of public, wildlife and environmental health that these products are dealt with properly and not thrown in the trash or down the drain, where they can contaminate land and water resources, including drinking water,” Commissioner Walt Whitcomb of the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry said recently in a media release.
Through the program, the collected chemicals will be taken to out-of-state disposal facilities that are licensed by the Environmental Protection Agency. There, they will be incinerated or reprocessed, according to the Maine Board of Pesticides Control.
The collection program is jointly sponsored by the Board of Pesticides Control and the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, and is funded by pesticide product registration fees. According to the pesticide control board, the program has kept more than 90 tons of pesticides out of the waste stream since it began in 1982.
Participants must register by Saturday, Sept. 26, as drop-ins are not allowed. To register or to find more information about the program, please call 287-2731 or visit the website www.maine.gov/dacf/php/pesticides for details.