August 26, 2013
The Virginia Department of Transportation will begin spraying Krenite S along roads in Central Virginia next week.
But dozens of people in Albemarle County are worried about what this herbicide will do to their property.
VDOT Spokesperson Lou Hatter says they have been spraying for several years and they follow specific guidelines to make it safe.
"It does not kill the entire plant," Hatter said. "It only kills the part of the plant that's sprayed."
Hatter says Krenite S has a relatively low toxicity, and it quickly get metabolized.
But Ann Mallek, the chair of the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors, is not convinced.
"If something isn't proven to be safe, you shouldn't use it," Mallek said.
She is encouraging people to call VDOT to opt out of the spraying on their property.
"We've had about 75 calls from people who want to opt out," Hatter said. "Out of that, there's been about a half dozen whose homes were actually located on the spray route."
Hatter says the spray saves tax dollars. He says removing the limbs with saws and mowers would cost six times as much as the spray.
Mallek says, that calculation is inaccurate.
"We don't know what the costs are that they're creating by using the chemicals," Mallek said. "When you mess around in one place, it's going to come back and bite you."
Mallek is also worried about the spray getting in places it is not supposed to, like streams.
"When something is sprayed and it's sprayed up high in order to get the branches that are 15 or 20 feet up in the air, it's going to drift," Mallek said.
But Hatter said the sprayers will take precautions to avoid that.
"The wind has to be under a certain amount (to spray)," Hatter said, "so that we don't get what's called 'accidental drift' onto property that we're not trying to spray."
Mary Lee Epps, the president of the Jefferson chapter of the Virginia Native Plant Society says the spraying could be a good thing to get rid of unwanted species.
"Trees like ailanthus are very invasive," Epps said. "They'll clone. You cut them off and they'll just spread from the roots. So they really have to be treated chemically."
This is a list of all the roads in Albemarle County that VDOT plans to spray. The spraying will start September 9:
- Route 29 from the Greene County line to the Nelson County line
- Route 600 from Route 20 to Route 641
- Route 615 from Route 231 to the Louisa County line
- Route 616 from Route 250 to the Fluvanna County line
- Route 643 from Route 649 to Route 29
- Route 648 from Route 22 to the dead end
- Route 640 from Route 231 to Route 22
- Route 692 from Route 712 to Route 29
- Route 712 from Route 20 to Route 760
- Route 800 from Route 6 to the Nelson County line
- Route 842 from Route 616 to the dead end