The South Portland Maine City Council unanimously approved a first reading of a pesticide ban that would limit what chemicals landscape professionals can use to control lawn and garden pests in the city.
The ordinance would apply to city property starting May 1, 2017, and broaden to private property May 1, 2018. It would be reviewed during the third year for possible revision. Following an initial warning, violators would face escalating fines of $200, $500 and $1,000 per offense
The council approved the proposed ordinance while asking city staff to recommend amendments on how it would be enforced and how waivers could be granted in a more timely fashion, among other issues, before the council takes a final vote.
The proposal doesn’t specifically name any pesticides that would be allowed or prohibited. Instead the ordinance would prohibit the use of synthetic pesticides other than products allowed by the Organic Materials Review Institute or exempt from regulation by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Landscape professionals still have opportunities to voice concerns about the ban before it is signed into law. The council will need to consider the ordinance again during meetings in the near future before a final vote on passage can occur. If South Portland does pass the ordinance, there are several other communities in Maine that will consider adopting similar language including Portland and Harpswell.