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Edmonton to contribute $150K to environmental projects over 2016 herbicide spraying incident

Click to play video: 'Edmonton pays for 2016 herbicide mistake' Edmonton pays for 2016 herbicide mistake
The City of Edmonton is being forced to pay up for a 2016 environmental mistake. Industrial herbicide was used in a residential neighbourhood. Tom Vernon explains – Jul 15, 2019

After being charged with “pesticide-related” environmental offences last year, the City of Edmonton issued a news release on Monday, saying it “takes responsibility for herbicide use” and will pay $150,400 towards three environmental projects — in addition to a $14,600 fine — in connection with events that unfolded in 2016.

The city called the contributions to the environmental projects “part of a creative sentence for a charge under the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act.”

“On May 11, 2016, city staff inadvertently used the herbicide Hyvar X-L while treating vegetation on pathways in Haddow, a neighbourhood in southwest Edmonton,” the city said in a news release. “Hyvar X-L is a federally-regulated, industrial-grade herbicide not intended for use in residential neighbourhoods.

“The application damaged nearby trees and shrubs on residential properties in the area.”

READ MORE: City of Edmonton faces environmental charges over herbicide spraying incident

The city said that in the wake of the 2016 incident, it has taken steps to prevent a similar occurrence from happening again in the future.

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“These measures have included the development and implementation of enhanced training programs for staff who are involved in applying herbicide which are above and beyond the provincially and federally legislated requirements,” said Gord Cebryk, deputy city manager for city operations.

Gord Cebryk, deputy city manager for City of Edmonton operations, speaks to reporters on July 15, 2019. Wes Rosa/ Global News

After the 2016 spraying incident, the city closed affected pathways to “excavate, dispose and replace portions of soil.” Area residents and organizations were told about remediation work and the “inadvertent herbicide application,” according to the city.

“Before reopening the pathways, the city carried out a comprehensive analysis of the area and confirmed there was no trace of herbicide or other contaminants,” the city said.

Since the incident, the city said it has also taken steps to strengthen oversight and accountability, including through the use of digital geographic tracking of herbicide use.

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“The City of Edmonton continues to maintain a cosmetic herbicide ban with exceptions, one of which is the use of herbicides to control provincially-regulated weeds to prevent growth and spread,” the city said. “Hyvar ​X-L is no longer used by the city for any purpose.”

In a news release issued Tuesday morning, the Alberta government said a portion of the city’s penalty will go to fund the following three projects:

  • Creation of two new eco-islands within the Wagner Natural Area in Parkland County
  • A University of Alberta-led study of biological control potential for slugs
  • Updating of the Identification Guide for Alberta Invasive Plants and the Be Plant Wise brochures; a sub project will include using goats to remove invasive plants in the North Saskatchewan watershed

Watch below: Some Global News videos about herbicides.

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