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Tampa residents to get golf course pesticide alert

TAMPA — Officials with the Tampa Sports Authority say they will do a better job of notifying neighbors before using golf course pesticides.

But they concluded that, with ample warning, the pesticide applications pose no risk to nearby residents.

Residents complained after TSA treated Babe Zaharias Golf Course with the Dow Chemical Co. product Curfew, which kills nematodes and other pests. One had expressed concern that a past application may have made him sick.

The agency historically has tried to let residents know about pending golf course treatments, in both letters and signs. But the letters didn't go out before the course got a treatment last month.

"Normally that happens," said TSA spokeswoman Barbara Casey. "This time we did goof up."

A change in leadership happened in golf course supervision around the same time, Casey said.

The TSA pledged better communication in the future. It will mail letters to all 1,100 residents near the Babe Zaharias course before future applications. It will also send e-mails to neighborhood group leaders and post announcements in newsletters, along with posting signs.

Curfew is injected into the ground on or near fairways and tees, becoming a gas underground, which some residents say they can smell. Applications typically take place about once a year.

The county's Environmental Protection Commission conducted a review of both Curfew and its application on city golf courses, but found no cause for alarm if it's used properly.

Labeling on the product says it should not be used within 30 feet of homes. The TSA says it will not use it within 30 feet of a property line. The course is closed both the day of and day after an application.

"As long as you notify the public and they follow the proper procedures, really there's minimal risk to anyone," said Sterlin Woodard, assistant director of the EPC.

Bill Varian can be reached at varian@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3387.

Tampa residents to get golf course pesticide alert 06/16/08 [Last modified: Monday, June 16, 2008 11:45pm]
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