PA 07-168—sHB 5234

Environment Committee

Education Committee

AN ACT BANNING PESTICIDE USE ON SCHOOL GROUNDS

SUMMARY: This act:

1. expands a ban on applying lawn care pesticides at preschools and elementary schools to schools with students through grade eight, but allows a school superintendent and other appropriate authorities to authorize emergency applications of lawn care pesticides in health emergencies at such schools;

2. extends, for one year, an exemption to the ban for pesticides applied according to certain integrated pest management plans (IPMs); and

3. makes the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) responsible for administering and enforcing school pesticide applications.

Under prior law, the DEP commissioner could designate DEP officers or employees to enforce pesticide laws by, among other things, observing pesticide applications, inspecting equipment, obtaining pesticide samples, and verifying applicator certifications. The act (1) permits the commissioner to authorize any such enforcement actions only within available appropriations, and (2) authorizes her to designate officers and employees to enforce school pesticide applications.

Also under prior law, the commissioner (1) had to annually review a sampling of state department, agency, or institution pest control management plans required by regulation and (2) could review an application of pesticides at the departments, agencies, or institutions to determine whether they used IPM at their facilities if the commissioner has provided a model IPM plan pertaining to those facilities. The act applies these provisions to schools and requires that the commissioner's annual review of department, agency, institution, and school pest control management plans be conducted within available appropriations.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2007

APPLICATION OF LAWN CARE PESTICIDES

Integrated Pest Management Plans

Prior law barred anyone from applying a lawn care pesticide on the playing fields and playgrounds of public and private preschools and elementary schools, except that pesticides could be applied until July 1, 2008 on their grounds according to an IPM. The act expands the ban to public and private schools with students through grade eight and extends the IPM exemption for one year, to July 1, 2009. The IPM plan may be developed by a local or regional school board for public schools it controls and must be consistent with DEP's model pest control management plan.

Emergency Applications

Despite the ban, prior law allowed emergency applications of lawn care pesticides on public and private preschool and elementary school grounds to eliminate a threat to human health, as determined by the local health director, public health or environmental protection commissioner, and, in the case of a public elementary school, a school superintendent. The act allows these officials to determine health threats at schools with students through grade eight.

DEP ADMINISTRATION AND ENFORCEMENT

The act gives DEP the authority, under the Connecticut Pesticide Control Act (CGS 22a-46 et seq. ), to administer and enforce the laws concerning school pesticide applications, within available appropriations. These laws include registration, notice, and record-keeping provisions, in addition to the provisions concerning the applications themselves. The act makes it unlawful to violate the school pesticide statutes and applies Pesticide Control Act penalties to violators, as follows:

1. any registrant; commercial applicator; uncertified person who performs, advertises, or solicits to perform commercial application; wholesaler; dealer; retailer; or other distributor who knowingly violates the law may be fined up to $5,000, imprisoned up to one year, or both.

2. a private applicator or other person, not included in the above categories, who knowingly violates the law, may be fined up to $1,000, imprisoned up to 30 days, or both.

Under the Pesticide Control Act, the action, omission, or failure to act of any officer, agent, or other person acting or working for any person is deemed to be the action, omission, or failure of the employer as well as the employee. The act extends this provision to school pesticide applications.

It also applies to school pesticide applications existing law authorizing the attorney general, on the complaint of the DEP commissioner, to seek a civil penalty in Hartford Superior Court against violators of the Pesticide Control Act of up to $2,500 per day for each day a violation continues.

DEP Review of Pesticide Applications

By law, state agencies, departments, and institutions must use IPM at facilities they control if the DEP commissioner has provided a model IPM plan pertaining to those facilities. The law allows each agency, department, or institution that enters into a contract for pest control and pesticide application to revise and maintain its bidding procedures to require contractors to supply IPM services.

The act allows schools to revise and maintain their bidding procedures to require contractors to supply IPM services. It requires that DEP's annual review of department, agency, institution, and school pest control management plans be within available appropriations, and authorizes it to review any school pesticide application to determine if it used IPM as the law requires.

BACKGROUND

Integrated Pest Management

IPM means the use of all available pest control techniques, including judicious use of pesticides, when warranted, to maintain a pest population at or below an acceptable level, while decreasing the use of pesticides (CGS 10-231a).

OLR Tracking: PF: SC: CR: RO