In a vote of 4 to 1, the Sebastian City Council placed a temporary ban on using herbicides and pesticides for one year near wastewater and 120 days for local parks.
“The council passed a ban on using herbicides/pesticides with no spraying on the wastewater system for one year, a 120-day hold on parks, and limit spraying within 10 feet of any body of water on the golf course,” Mayor Ed Dodd told Sebastian Daily.
Dodd said that the other cities he’s looked into do not entirely discontinue the use of herbicides and pesticides.
Councilman Jim Hill did not vote for the ban, citing that more research has to be done before making the decision. Hill said the ban would make the ball fields unusable “very soon” and fill the playgrounds with fire ants instead of children.
“There was no research or scientific data used to make this decision. I voted against this disaster,” said Hill.
Hill strongly believes that the ban is based on ignorance and will destroy our parks and waterways based on something he calls a hoax. He reminded the council that the EPA approved all products used at the golf course and parks.
Stopping all spraying also means no mosquito control, which concerns Hill because of the current West Nile Virus advisory.
Charles Mauti, Pam Parris, and Damien Gilliams supported the ban and hopes there are alternative solutions. Gilliams recommended signs be posted at the golf course and parks to warn people about the herbicides and pesticides following the temporary ban.
Recently, the City of Ft. Pierce used organic sprays but reverted to regular spraying, stating it wasn’t as effective, especially on a commercial level.
According to Sebastian City Manager Paul Carlisle, the airport and golf course has its own stormwater system and retention that already gets treated.
“It has stormwater treatment ponds, and the ponds are separated, and then it goes through the county’s water system before it ever gets back into our waters,” said Carlisle.
The previous city council had tasked Carlisle into looking for alternatives to using glyphosate in our waterways. However, the report does not include any other pesticides.
Mayor Dodd says he does not agree with the science about herbicides and pesticides. However, Dodd did support the ban.
“We can all find science on both sides of this argument, but I do believe it’s a political argument,” Dodd said during the council meeting.