Time to Write Your Town’s Pesticide Ordinance?

BDN - organic 3If you think you have done enough to educate yourselves and your town about the dangers of chemical pesticides, it is time to take a look at three pesticide ordinances already in existence.

Here is Takoma Park, Maryland’s, the first to be passed:


Ogunquit’s, the second passed (click ordinances at the top of the page):


And Harpswell’s:


See what may be applicable to your town. Do you have commercial farms, garden centers, or golf courses in your town?  Harpswell exempts commercial garden centers and golf courses and by state mandate, commercial farms. South Portland may exempt these three kinds of companies as well when they pass their ordinance.

You may also wish to check with the Maine Board of Pesticide Control for their regs.

Here in Ogunquit, we based our ordinance on Takoma Park’s, but of course that is in Maryland, not Maine; that first ordinance we tried to pass failed by a handful of votes.

We thought it failed because it was too strict, and so added some exemptions, such as herbicides for invasive species and plants such as poison ivy, as well as pesticides for possible disease carrying insects such as ticks and mosquitoes.  The busiest lawn care company in our town, though, does not use chemical pesticides to control ticks and mosquitoes.

The Maine Board of Pesticide Control had never seen such an ordinance, and suggested we add other exemptions, such as flea collars, paint and swimming pool chemicals – who knew? We had few exemptions when we first tried to pass our pesticide ordinance and added our exemptions for our second and successful try.

BDN - organic 4You may be ready to write your ordinance and submit it to your Select Board.  If you need help defending any of your positions you may wish to contact Jay Feldman at Beyond Pesticides and depending where you live – Southern Maine or close to Portland – Scott Eldredge and John Bochert at Eldredge Hardware in Kittery, York and Portland.

Bill Baker

About Bill Baker

Bill's interest in a clean place to live is rooted in growing up in the country – a cornfield across the road and fields, sandstone cliffs and hundreds of acres of woods where he spent many hours.