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DEQ Issues Permit for Pesticide Use

December 16, 2011

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (“DEQ”) recently issued a permit for the use of pesticides in, over, or near surface waters in Oregon. The Pesticide General Permit (2300A) covers the following pesticide applications:

• Mosquito and other flying insect pest control;

• Weed and algae control;

• Nuisance animal control (covering pesticide applications to control fish, mollusks, fungi, bacteria, and other  aquatic animals);

• Forest canopy pest control; and

• Area-wide pest control (covering aerial pesticide applications).

The permit requirement has the potential to impact thousands of pesticide users, including farmers, ranchers, forestland owners, and land operators whose pesticide applications reach water. The permit is required as part of the Clean Water Act’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (“NPDES”) program, which is administered in Oregon by the Oregon DEQ. Oregon DEQ’s permit requirement stems from a 2009 Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals decision vacating a federal rule exempting pesticides that were otherwise regulated under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act from Clean Water Act coverage.

As of October 31, 2011, pesticide users that fall within the permit’s purview must follow its terms and conditions. Certain entities must also register by January 9, 2012, to ensure uninterrupted permit coverage. Oregon DEQ plans to issue a separate Irrigation District General Permit covering pesticide applications made by irrigation districts. Irrigation districts that currently have individual permits will continue to operate under those permits until the Oregon DEQ issues the new permit.

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