Pesticides, fertilizers, deicing chemicals, and other substances can contribute to runoff pollution and contaminate groundwater and surface water. Road salts and deicing chemicals can be a source of highway runoff.1,2 Chloride-based deicers are of particular concern since this chemical is not biodegradable and does not absorb into the soil. This material can negatively impact vegetation and water quality.
Pesticides—such as insecticides, herbicides, and fungicides—and fertilizers are a significant source of agricultural pollution that can impact water quality.3 These chemicals can be carried by runoff and contaminate water and food sources, destroy aquatic habitats, and harm wildlife. Improper and excessive use of fertilizers and pesticides can be prevented with proper education, training, and storage of these chemicals.
How it Helps
Before using deicing chemicals, pesticides, or fertilizers, the user should be properly trained regarding safe handing techniques, proper application and timing, and its potential environmental impact. Increased awareness of these chemicals will ensure that best management practices are followed.
Analyze the Site:
Prior to chemical use, the surrounding site should be analyzed to determine if there are any concerns about using a particular chemical. For example, soils that are moist, clay-like, and compacted are more prone to runoff losses.5 Greater slopes and the type of vegetation in an area may also contribute to increased runoff.
There are many resources to help farmers and other community members follow the best practices regarding pesticide and fertilizer use. For example, the U.S. Department of Agriculture provides technical assistance to implement pollution management practices, and the Clean Water Act sets aside grants that can be used by farms and ranches.3
1) Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Techniques
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is an environmentally-friendly approach to pest management that can be applied in both agricultural and non-agricultural settings. It is used to limit pesticide use and encourage long-term prevention of pests through a combination of strategies.