Local News

Herbicide Used Improperly at Chapel Hill School

Posted June 12, 2007 2:35 p.m. EDT

— Weed killer was improperly sprayed on athletic fields at a Chapel Hill middle school last month, according to school district officials.

Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Assistant Superintendent Steve Scroggs said the district has suspended spreading weed killer on fields used for competitions after it determined state safety procedures had been violated.

Scroggs sent an e-mail to parents of Smith Middle School students over the weekend about the incident and the district's plans.

A lawn care company employed by the district spread fertilizer coated with a pre-emergent herbicide on the school's football and soccer fields, Scroggs said. At the same time, a worker sprayed crabgrass on the fields with a chemical called Trimec, he said.

Trimec is classified as "slightly toxic" by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and requires a 72-hour notice of parents before use, Scroggs said. The garden sprayer used for application also violated safety procedures, he said.

He doesn't think any children became ill because of the application.

The district plans to review its use of herbicides on athletic fields and will stress adherence to safety guidelines by all contractors, he said.