By Sandy Howard
Right now, some Mosquito Control Districts across the state believe Ecology is going to ban them from spraying this season. This is not accurate.
Ecology is working to update the state’s Aquatic Mosquito Control General Permit. The new permit we expect to finalize by June would allow the use of insecticides to control adult mosquitoes that carry diseases such as West Nile virus.
We are currently conducting a full public process on this change and we invite your opinion.
Here is the backdrop:
Federal court decisions and the federal Clean Water Act require Ecology to issue a permit anytime pollutants are discharged into our waters.
Under the current permit, it’s illegal for any incidental discharge of insecticides into water control adult mosquitoes. This will remain illegal until Ecology can issue a new permit that addresses this.
We need to change the current permit to keep us in a legal position to protect human health should a need arise to control mosquitoes infected with West Nile virus.
Ecology’s new, proposed permit will continue to allow the use of pesticides to control nuisance mosquitoes as long as pesticides don’t get into waters of the state.
The permit will continue to allow the use of larvacides to kill mosquito larvae, which is the most effective way to control mosquitoes.
Aquatic pesticide permits provide important public health and environmental benefits. The same insecticides that target adult mosquitoes are also toxic to aquatic animals. They are extremely toxic to fish and other aquatic organisms, including mayflies, caddisflies and other important invertebrates in aquatic food webs. They can harm threatened and endangered salmon.
For more information about the current and proposed permits, visit Ecology’s website. To learn more about West Nile virus, visit the Department of Health’s website.
If you have comments about Ecology’s proposed permit, we invite you to attend a public workshop and hearing we’re holding at 1 p.m. March 9 at the Moses Lake Fire Department, 701 E. Third Ave. Email your comments about the proposed permit to Jon Jennings at firstname.lastname@example.org or mail them to Jon at Mosquito Control Permit Comments, Department of Ecology, Water Quality Program, P.O. Box 47600, Olympia, WA 98504. Our deadline to receive comments is 5 p.m. on March 17.