MANDEVILLE, LA (WVUE) - Some Mandeville residents have filed a complaint about widespread chemical spraying along miles of parish roads. They say it's unsightly and may be environmentally dangerous. The state is now investigating.
A long highway, 1088 northeast of Mandeville, dead and dying foliage now lines the roadside.
For the last several weeks, crews have been out spraying an herbicide along parish highways and residential streets in order to control rapid undergrowth and many worry.
"We are worried about toxicity on animals and plants," said Margie Vicknair-Pray with the Sierra Club.
Sources say the chemical is being sprayed by Washington-St. Tammany Electric Cooperative to keep brush from interfering with power lines. The Coop this afternoon, put out a statement saying, "It's aware of the concerns caused by the use of herbicides in its vegetation management program'. The statement says the Coop 'Is in compliance, with all federal, state and local ordinances.' The Coop confirms it uses the chemical 'Garlon 3A', an approved herbicide.
Friday, concerned residents met with officials from the state agriculture department which is now looking into the spraying.
"We are conducting an investigation to determine who the applicant was, what was sprayed and what was used," said Veronica Mosgrove with the La. Dept of Agriculture.
People filing the complaint are also worried about the defiant chemicals flowing into waterways like Little Bayou Castine.
That bayou feeds directly into Bayou Castine where boaters recently spotted manatees, which often migrate to the area, from Florida, in mid to late summer.
So far, there have been no measurable impacts in Bayou Castine from the widespread chemical spraying and residents want to keep it that way.
"We have to stop doing this. We can't keep killing everything and not worry about it," said Pray.
Washington-St. Tammany Electric Coop says "It is cooperating with the state agriculture department in their investigation." An investigation just getting underway.
Observers say the chemical spraying covers dozens of miles of roadways across the Northshore, often along drainage ditches.