Moncton’s mayor says she’s concerned over planned herbicide spraying by JD Irving near Greater Moncton’s drinking water supply and is calling on the government to halt the process.
Earlier this month, Mayor Dawn Arnold sent a letter to New Brunswick Environment Minister Serge Rouselle asking that he stop aerial spraying inside the city’s watershed boundaries.
A notice was sent to the city indicating that spraying was being conducted on Crown land in the Turtle Creek region on behalf of JD Irving between Aug. 5 and Sept. 30.
“It is our opinion that aerial herbicide spraying should be considered a restricted activity under the watershed protected area designation and should, therefore, not be permitted,” wrote Arnold who also posted a copy of the letter on her Facebook page.
Current regulations restrict aerial herbicide spraying to within 3.2 kilometres of the reservoirs. But in the letter, Arnold asked that the no-spray zone to be expanded to include land within the entire watershed indicated on this map.
Moncton resident Brian Johnson supports the move.
“Anything near the drinking water I am not happy with that. I mean that is the stuff we drink,” he added. “What if something happens and it gets in the water. There is concerns and a lot of people like myself don’t know the science of it.”
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Arnold would not agree to an interview until she consults council and the mayors of Riverview and Dieppe.
But the city did provide Global News with a copy of Rouselle’s reply. In the letter, he said that only products approved by Health Canada are approved for spraying in New Brunswick and spray permits come with strict guidelines to protect watersheds
“The City of Moncton samples the watershed during herbicide spray and analyses for glyphosate. To date, the city has not presented any data to the department indicating the presences of pesticides in these samples,” the letter reads.
In an emailed statement, Environment Department communications officer Marc Andre Chiasson adds that a report by the Department of Health last year showed the application of glyphosate at recommended levels “presents no discernible increased risk to human health.”
But concerns about the drinking water supply shared by Moncton, Dieppe, and Riverview are indeed growing.
In a statement issued on Thursday, Riverview Mayor Anne Seamans said she’s concerned about the potential risk it poses the community’s drinking water supply.
“I support Mayor Arnold’s request sent to the Department of Environment and Local Government to impose a restriction on the use of glyphosate within the watershed. I will be meeting with the mayors of Moncton and Dieppe soon to discuss next steps.”
Read Mayor Dawn Arnold’s letter to Serge Rousselle below:
Read Serge Rousselle’s response: