FALMOUTH — The Town Council has moved a step closer toward requiring pesticide applicators to register with the town and provide an annual report of their use. The council on Monday scheduled a hearing in January on the proposal.

The goal behind the new ordinance, according to Nancy Lightbody, chairwoman of the Conservation Commission, is to “safeguard the health and welfare of our residents and preserve and protect Falmouth’s environment.”

Nancy Lightbody, who heads the Falmouth Conservation Commission, says a new ordinance requiring reporting of pesticide usage is a chance to “effect positive change.” Courtesy

“We see this as an excellent opportunity for our town to effect positive change,” she added.

Lightbody said various scientific and medical organizations have concluded that synthetic pesticides are harmful to humans, animals, plants and soils.

And, she said, with a variety of endangered and threatened water bodies in town that drain into Casco Bay, it’s time to make clear that “we don’t need synthetic pesticides to maintain healthy lawns.”

The new rules would also ban the use of fertilizer between Dec. 1 and March 31 each year.


The proposed ordinance would rely on an education and outreach campaign to encourage residents to consider more restricted use of pesticides.

The Conservation Commission has worked to create an ordinance guiding pesticide use for the past three years and during that time it has conducted a lot of research and met with experts in the field, Lightbody told councilors Monday.

Last month, Sustainability Coordinator Kimberly Darling told The Forecaster that the new ordinance is designed to prevent “excessive use” of pesticides and fertilizers. The other goal is to provide a way to collect data about what types of pesticides and fertilizers are being used in town, along with where and when.

Falmouth’s proposed ordinance mirrors a state law that already requires the licensing and registration of pesticide applicators and that asks them to also report their overall usage.

“All we’re doing,” Darling said Monday, “is asking them to pull out the Falmouth specific data.”

There are some exemptions to the registration and reporting requirement, Darling said, including for commercial agriculture and horticulture and for pet supplies, such as tick and flea treatments, along with pool chemicals, rat and rodent control and general use paints and stains.

The new ordinance also makes the Conservation Commission the lead group when it comes to the planned education and outreach campaign and calls on the Town Council to annually review the application data that’s being collected to determine if any new rules or regulations are required.

Overall, councilors were supportive of the proposal, with Chairwoman Amy Kuhn saying the new registry would help the town to better “define the problem,” while the “education piece will show why this is important and needed.”

The hearing will take place 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 13.

Comments are not available on this story.