Environmental emergencies

Pesticides can be beneficial when used carefully and wisely. However, when not used properly, some can harm the environment by contaminating groundwater, damaging non-target plants, contaminating soil, killing beneficial organisms, or by affecting birds, fish, or wildlife.

Preventing environmental emergencies  

  • Use pesticides only when necessary
  • Select the least toxic and least persistent pesticide when possible
  • Follow all label instructions including the application rate, buffer zones, and other safety precautions
  • Do not destroy vegetation along fish bearing waters and do not spray it with pesticides
  • Incorporate granular insecticides
  • Use precautions to prevent drift, leaching and run-off to areas outside the treated area
  • Never store pesticides near wells or pump houses
  • Store treated seed where it cannot be eaten by animals
  • Place baits in covered bait stations
  • Prevent spills by following good practices
  • Develop a contingency or emergency response plan (including how to prevent emergencies, who to contact if there is an emergency, what to do if there is an emergency, where critical or sensitive areas are on your farm and how often the plan will be updated)

Dealing with environmental emergencies 

  • Contact Emergency Management BC at 1-800-663-3456 for all emergencies - they will coordinate and assist with emergency response
  • Follow the instructions for pesticide spills, fires, or poisoning
  • Clean up spills as soon as it is safe to do so
  • Protect yourself from pesticide contamination and put on appropriate protective equipment so you are not harmed
  • Remain up wind of any pesticide
  • Keep bystanders and animals away from the pesticide emergency site
  • Control the emergency; eliminate the source if possible; and prevent the emergency from becoming worse