DEC issues violation notice for improper application of pesticide in Village park

Village by: Chrissy Ruggeri, March 1, 2023

The improper application of a pesticide took place in several areas close to the Northport park bulkhead, the structure between the grass and water. After a resident complaint, the DEC issued Notices of Violation to the contractor responsible and the issue was remediated.

On Monday, February 27, a concerned resident contacted the Department of Conservation (DEC) regarding what she felt was a potentially hazardous pesticide application in Northport Park. The DEC immediately investigated the incident, agency officials said, and determined the pesticide, Ditrac Tracking Powder, was applied improperly by a contractor hired by the Village of Northport.

According to Bell Laboratories, Ditrac contains the toxicant diphacinone, which is mixed with carriers to adhere to a rodent’s fur and paws. It’s then ingested when the rodent grooms. Ditrac does not dissolve in water and is meant to be used under certain circumstances, where it can’t become airborne or contaminate surfaces that come into contact with food.

Bell Laboratories also indicates that Ditrac Tracking Powder is extremely toxic to fish, birds and other wildlife, adding that dogs and predatory and scavenging mammals and birds “might be poisoned if they feed upon animals that have eaten this bait. Do not apply this product directly to water or to areas where surface water is present.”

In the case of the application in Northport Village, the pesticide was buried in several areas close to the bulkhead, the structure between the grass and water in the park – an area that has seen a recent increase in rat nest sightings, according to a Village source.

“DEC Environmental Conservation Police required the applicator to remove the product and surrounding soils, and properly dispose of the material,” the DEC stated. The pesticide removal was conducted Tuesday morning and the DEC issued two Notices of Violations to the contractor for “applying pesticide other than as the label directs.”

“Some residents informed the Village on Monday that they observed a pesticide application in the park. We immediately investigated,” Trustee Meghan Dolan, commissioner of parks, told the Journal.

The Village does not typically use pesticides on park grounds, but when it's deemed necessary, hires a professional contractor, as Village crews are not licensed in pesticide applications, said Trustee Dolan. In the past, permissible bait boxes were used.

“The pesticide, which is approved for indoor, but not outdoor use, was immediately removed and remediated to the satisfaction of the DEC. There were no violations issued to the Village. We appreciate the residents bringing this to our attention so we can ensure this will never happen again. Right now, the park remains safe and usable for all residents, pets and visitors,” she added.