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DATCP: Atrazine restrictions proposed for more acres in Columbia and Sauk counties

Contact: Jane Larson (608) 224-5005

MADISON—The Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection is holding public hearings on a proposal to expand areas in Columbia and Sauk counties where atrazine cannot be used. Currently, the herbicide is banned on 1.2 million acres in Wisconsin due to groundwater concerns.

The state agriculture department proposes adding 8,140 restricted acres in northern Columbia County which would connect two existing atrazine prohibition areas in the Towns of Marcellon and Wyocena. The proposal also adds a new atrazine prohibition area in southeastern Sauk County in the Town of Prairie du Sac which is adjacent to the existing Lower Wisconsin River Valley prohibition area. This would add 1,430 acres in Sauk County where atrazine use is prohibited.

A prohibition area is a location where atrazine, a popular corn herbicide, or products that contain atrazine, cannot be applied.

Test results from drinking water wells in the area and a follow-up environmental investigation prompted the proposed prohibition areas. “The investigation determined that continued use of atrazine on area fields will likely contribute to additional groundwater contamination,” explained Stan Senger, Environmental Quality section chief. “This will affect 20 to 30 farmers in those two counties who may currently rely on atrazine for weed control, but it should not be completely unexpected as the additional acres are next to existing areas where the use of atrazine is already prohibited.”

Farmers, area residents and other interested people are encouraged to attend either of two public hearings. The hearings will be 3–5 p.m. then 6–8 p.m. at each location.

* Prairie du Sac: Tues., Oct. 26, Town Hall, S9903 Hwy. 12

* Pardeeville: Wed., Oct. 27, Angie W. Cox Public Library, 119 North Main St.

For those unable to attend the hearing, the department will also accept written comments until Fri., Nov. 12, 2010. Send comments to Rick Graham, DATCP, P.O. Box 8911, Madison, WI 53708-8911 or rick.graham@wisconsin.gov. For a copy of the rule, contact Rick Graham at (608) 224-4502, send an e-mail or go to the Administrative Rules home page at https://health.wisconsin.gov/admrules/public/Home, and search on ‘ATCP 30,’ then look for the heading ‘permanent rules under promulgation.’

If approved, the proposed expansion will likely take effect prior to the 2011 growing season. The number of atrazine prohibition areas in Wisconsin would remain at 101.

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