|NRC says no to
Michael Cox/ Townsman Staff
Thursday, June 30,
By a vote of 4-1 and following three public
hearings on the matter, Wellelsey's Natural Resource Committee has said no
to the use of the controversial herbicide fluridone to cure the ailing
decision, made June 16, comes as town officials grapple with how best to
solve weed overgrowth that is strangling the popular body of water, which
residents use for swimming, boating and, most importantly, their drinking
vice-chairman Heidi Gross, who voted against the herbicide, said the
decision was an easy one because it is consistent with the Integrated Pest
Management Policy the NRC, School Committee and Board of Health passed two
years ago. That policy prohibits the use of herbicides and pesticides on
public land or public water supplies, unless there is a direct danger to
human health or environmental health, and where no other viable
not a solution that is acceptable to the policy," said Gross, who cited an
outbreak of the West Nile virus as an instance in which the use of a
pesticide would be acceptable. "These weeds in the pond are not a
detriment to human health."
addressing environmental health, Janet Bowser, director of Natural
Resources Commission, said the use of a pesticide would be permissible,
for example, in an instance where pests are threatening all the maple
tress in town.
who is not a voting NRC member, said that given all she knows about
fluridone, and having been involved in writing the town's pest-management
policy, she is opposed to using fluridone in the pond.
Wagner, an environmental consultant working for the town suggested the use
of fluridone as one of several potential remedies for Wellesley to
consider in an attempt to get control over the rooted plants and algae
infesting the pond. During a public meeting, he said that the herbicide
was not a carcinogen and pointed out that the federal government has
approved it for use in drinking water at twice the level he would be
proposing to use it. In Morse's Pond, fluridone would be applied at eight
parts per billion, or roughly a drop for the size of a swimming pool, he
officials attribute the weed and algae overgrowth in Morse's Pond to road
salt, gasoline, upstream septic systems, pesticides and fertilizers that
drain into the watershed. Town officials considered the fluridone option
because they viewed it as a more cost-effective solution compared with the
Gross and others were still uncomfortable with its application. The
herbicide had also drawn opposition from the Wellesley Cancer Prevention
Project and the town's Department of Public Health. NRC member Peter
DeNatale was the lone vote in favor of fluridone's use.
other alternatives are more expensive, but they are not experimental and
they do not impact on human health," said Gross, who noted that fluridone
is only a decade old and she felt not enough information about it
said the NRC will now focus its attention on dredging and harvesting as
options, even though it is believed that the cost for these alternatives
could soar well beyond $5 million.
Gross is elated with the committee's vote.
want to look back 10 years from on a decision that I was part of and find
out some person in Wellesley is having an adverse effect because of it,"
Natural Resources Commission doesn't want to attempt a fluridone
cure for Morse's Pond. (Photo by Rachel