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Carrboro Weed Control Experiment a Real 'Steam'

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CARRBORO — People pour tons of chemicals on their yards to control bugs and weeds. A 1997N.C. Statestudy says 80 percent of the municipal water supplies in the area had pesticides in them.

Carrboro has found a way to let off some steam to kill weeds and unwanted grass at the same time with boiling water.

The town has the system on loan to see how well the pesticide alternative works.

"We've been looking at a variety of alternatives from less toxic herbicides to flamers which will singe weeds and kill them that way, to this hot water system," said Carrboro Alderman Allen Spalt.

Carrboro has been experimenting with theWaipunasystem for about two weeks now. It does not even own it.

But already, there is a lot of interest from outside the town in how this whole thing works.

Questions about the Waipuna system have come fromCP&L, theDepartment of Transportationand as far away as Israel and Australia.

"There are sites like rest areas and around some of our buildings, and all this may be of interest. Certainly we'll follow it," said Bill Johnson, roadside environmental engineer.

The system has drawbacks. It requires attachments for different kinds of weeding, and you have lots of hose to lay out.

The truck that carries the machine cannot fit in all areas, and the system has a $30,000 price tag.

That is expensive, but as some people ask, "what is the real cost of dumping pesticides in the ground?"

Carrboro will not be able to control all its vegetation with the hot water system.

Grass growing in cracks in the road and small trees will still have to be killed with pesticides or taken out by hand.


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