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January 17, 2020

The Truth About Aquatic Herbicides: Are They Dangerous?

Some of the most common concerns new pond owners express are over the safety of wildlife, pets, and people. When they first see their technician in PPE (person protective equipment) spraying into the pond, it instantly makes them think that strong, dangerous chemicals are being used.

In reality, aquatic herbicides are closely regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency and are safe for non-target plants and animals if applied by a licensed applicator in accordance with the product label. Years of research and millions of dollars go into its certification. The product cannot be labeled for aquatic use if it poses any chances of causing significant damage to human health, the environment, or wildlife. However, product must still be applied by a licensed applicator. Our technicians receive constant training to become more knowledgeable about the products we use.

Although rare, a fish kill may occur after a treatment is performed. This is not typically an indicator of an incorrectly performed treatment and not a toxicity issue. In cases of existing poor water quality, where the dissolved oxygen (DO) in the water is already very low, the DO may drop even lower due to the excess decomposition of plant material and algae. This may cause conditions conducive for fish to suffocate. This reinforces the importance of a properly trained technician. We consider all factors including temperature, seasonal timing, and treatment method to greatly reduce the risk of DO drop.

Are aquatic herbicides dangerous? The answer is no, if applied properly. There are no long-term threats to people, pets, fish, and wildlife if used correctly. Some products do carry swimming, drinking, and irrigation restrictions, and they are applied with this in mind. Your technician will always choose the product that is right for each situation. They will consider not only the results, but also the use and enjoyment of the pond treated, and the needs of the environment that surrounds it.

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