Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Inner West Council Use of Glysophate

It has taken Council Officers several months to provide less than illuminating answers to questions put on notice in APRIL 2020

Agenda 11 Aug 2020 Item No: C0820(1) Item 12

Subject:         Question on Notice: The use of Glyphosate by Inner West Council           
From:             Councillor Rochelle Porteous  
Q1.   In what form are records kept on the use of glyphosate to control weeks on IWC lands?
A:The operations team use daily work sheets to log areas where glyphosate has been used for weed control. The team also use a pesticide usage record sheet for all sites that herbicide application has taken place, this records the amount of herbicide used, location of use and the weather (wind, rain and temperature) when the application is taking place.

Q2:   Who is responsible for checking these records and how often are they checked?
A:The relevant operational coordinators are responsible for the daily review of each of the work sheets.

Q3.   What oversight occurs to ensure the accuracy of these records?
A:The relevant operational coordinators are responsible for the daily review of each of the work sheets.

Q4.   What is the procedure where a breach of relevant policies occurs?
A:As this is a newly adopted Policy, any incidents have been used as a learning experience to develop improved work methods and staff awareness.

Q5.   From the records kept by IWC, how often has glyphosate been used on IWC lands in the last 6 months?
A:Unless contrary to the Policy (eg. weather conditions), glyphosate is generally used daily.
 
Q6.   Please provide details of each use of glyphosate for December and January by IWC.
A:Unless contrary to the Policy (eg. weather conditions), glyphosate is generally used daily.
 
Q7.   The IWC Pesticide Notification Plan only requires one of the following notification methods to be used to notify the use of glyphosate:

·    Signs
·    Notice within a local community newspaper
·    Letters
·    Phone contact and/or Fax/email
·    Letterbox drops and/or door knocking
·    Inner West Council's web page

As part of the record keeping procedures, are records kept on the notification methods used for each use of glyphosate?

A:Notification of the use of pesticides is undertaken in accordance with the IWC Pesticide Notification Plan.

Q8.   According to the IWC Pesticide Notification Plan council staff are not required to inform the public that they are spraying glyphosate locally if the application is
Spraying of glyphosate using a hand spray bottle, wand, or spray lance
As part of the record keeping procedures, are records kept where glyphosate has been used and the public has not been informed?
A:The operations staff only use hand spray bottles, wands or a spray lances for the application of glyphosate based herbicides.

Q9.   Feb 26 2019 Council adopted as part of the adoption of the Weed MaQQnagement Policy to go out on exhibition the following:
Council engage a consultant to review existing herbicide use and make recommendations on improved risk mitigation as outlined in the report
Qa)   Has Council engaged a consultant to do this work? If not why not?
A:Yes.

Qb)   Assuming council has engaged this consultant, what recommendations has the consultant brought to council to improve risk mitigation?
A:The consultant found that the Inner West Council’s herbicide practices were generally very good.  A number of improvements were recommended, which have been implemented.

Q10. May 28 2019 Council as part of the adoption of the Weed Management Policy, the following was adopted:
Only use glyphosate as a matter of last resort where other methods cannot be applied and spot control of persistent weeds that resist other treatments occur.
Qa)   What decision-making process do council staff undertake to ensure Glyphosate is only used as a last resort?
Qb)   Where is it clearly outlined in the current policies that glyphosate must only be used as a last resort?

A: As per the Weed Management Policy, Council takes a hierarchical approach to weed management.  Council utilises glyphosate to a limited extent, only where other methods cannot be applied, and for spot control of persistent weeds that resist other treatments.

Q11. May 28 2019 also adopted was the following:
Any use of glyphosate must be done in a way that avoids it running off into stormwater drains and our waterways.

Qa)   What steps are council staff taking to ensure that when glyphosate is used, it is not running off into stormwater, drains and our waterways?
A:Staff have developed maps of the LGA with the areas 50m each side of waterways marked to indicate no spray areas.

Qb)   Where is this wording for this found in the current policies?
A:This is addressed in operational procedures.

Qc)   Have there been any breaches regarding this directive from council in the last 6 months?
A:There has been one breach.  As this is a newly adopted Policy, the incident was used as a learning experience to develop improved work methods and staff awareness.

Q 12. In Leichhardt Council most weed control was undertaken by non-chemical means with use of steam weeding, snipping the weeds and hand weeding. Glyphosate was only used for spot control of weeds where all other methods were not effective. It was reported at the February 2019 council meeting that the Leichhardt Council weed management contract would end in September 2019.
Qa)   Has the Leichhardt Council contract with most of the weed control being undertaken by non-chemical means been renewed with the same frequency of non-chemical weed removal and assurances regarding glyphosate only being used as a last resort?
A:Council is no longer utilising a contractor for weed management in the former Leichhardt area.  The Council adopted Weed Management Policy is being utilised throughout the Inner West.
Question b)   Has the use of glyphosate increased in the Leichhardt Council area since September 2019? If it has please provide details.

A:Yes.  The former Leichhardt Council policy did not permit the use of glyphosate.  The Council adopted Weed Management Policy is being utilised throughout the Inner West.  The Policy utilises glyphosate to a limited extent, only where other methods cannot be applied, and for spot control of persistent weeds that resist other treatments.

Q c)   Has the use of glyphosate increased in the Inner West Council area over the last 12 months? If it has please provide details.
A:Yes.  Glyphosate is now being utilised to a limited extent in the former Leichhardt Council area.

Q13. The General Secretary of the United Services Union, the industrial body representing Council’s staff, wrote to Councillors in May last year to notify Council that the USU has recently engaged with Safework NSW to further discuss the potential risks of Glyphosate to their workers. What work has the CEO done to follow up with the USU on this matter and to implement any worker safety recommendations?
A:Council has written to the USU outlining Council’s relevant weed management policies and procedures.  The independent contractor review of herbicide was tabled at the internal staff Work, Health & Safety Committee.

Source: Agenda 11 Aug 2020 https://innerwest.infocouncil.biz/Open/2020/08/C_11082020_AGN_3755_AT_WEB.htm

Petitions

 Minutes of Ordinary Council Meeting 28 May 2019

C0519(2) Item 2  Weed Management Policy

Motion: (Drury/McKenna OAM )

THAT Council: 

1.   Adopts the final Inner West Weed Management Policy and Pesticide Notification Plan;

2.   Rescind the Weed Control Policy of the former Marrickville Council; 

3.   Rescind the Weed Policy of the former Leichhardt Council;

4.   Rescind the Noxious Weeds Policy of the former Ashfield Council; and 

5.   Rescind the respective Pesticide Notification Plans of the former Marrickville, Leichhardt and Ashfield Councils.

6.   Only use glyphosate as a matter of last resort where other methods cannot be applied and spot control of persistent weeds that resist other treatments occur. Any use glyphosate must be done in a way that avoids it running off into stormwater drains and our waterways. The Council will continue to monitor the science regarding Glyphosates and review as needed. 

Motion Tied

For Motion: Crs Byrne, Drury, Iskandar, Macri, McKenna OAM, Raciti and York

Against Motion: Crs Da Cruz, Hesse, Kiat, Lockie, Porteous, Stamolis and Steer

Absent:  Cr Passas

The Chairperson used his Casting Vote and the MOTION was  CARRIED 

Foreshadowed Motion: (Kiat/Porteous)

1. That Council note that the General Secretary of the United Services Union, the industrial body representing Council’s staff, has written to Councillors to notify Council that the USU has recently engaged with Safework NSW to further discuss the potential risks of Glyphosate to their workers.

2. That Council defer adoption of the new policy until the USU has completed discussions with Safework NSW and advise us of its position.

3. That Council note there have been recently published studies from the University of Washington and the University of California, San Diego, that indicate a link between Glyphosate and cancer.

The Foreshadowed Motion lapsed.

Minutes of Ordinary Council Meeting 28 May 2019 https://innerwest.infocouncil.biz/Open/2019/05/C_28052019_MIN_3697_WEB.htm

More about Inner West Weed Management Policy and Pesticide Use Notification Plan at https://yoursay.innerwest.nsw.gov.au/draft-weed-management-policy-and-pesticide-use-notification-plan

1 comment:

  1. US EPA Interrim Decison - establishes ecological risks
    >> In January 2020, after receiving and considering public comments on the glyphosate proposed interim decision, EPA released the interim decision for registration review. As part of this action, EPA continues to find that there are no risks of concern to human health when glyphosate is used in accordance with its current label. EPA also found that glyphosate is unlikely to be a human carcinogen. EPA is requiring management measures to help farmers target pesticide sprays to intended pests, protect pollinators, and reduce the problem of weeds becoming resistant to glyphosate.
    >>
    >> Read the glyphosate interim decision.
    >>
    >> Learn more about glyphosate:
    >>
    >> Basic information on uses
    >> Human health
    >> Food safety
    >> Ecological health
    >> EPA actions and regulatory history
    >> Additional information
    >>
    https://www.epa.gov/ingredients-used-pesticide-products/glyphosate

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