SJWC Sprays Dangerous Herbicide on Watershed Land

September 5, 2006 

Herbicides In The Los Gatos Creek Watershed


The San Jose Water Company has admitted to their application of the herbicide "Roundup Pro" in a 2% solution along its private roadsides, above-ground pipelines, earth embankment dams and other structures within the Los Gatos Creek watershed. According to an environmental scientist for a state agency who participated in the Pre-Harvest Inspection of the watershed, the herbicide application was over water running in the inside ditch of the road. This is very troubling. Residents should know Roundup Pro is not approved for use in or near water according to, among others,  the Santa Clara Valley Water District, the University of Oregon's Environmental Health Science Center, and the University of Florida. This is due to the toxicity of the chemical surfactant POEA (polyethoxylated tallowamine) used in Roundup Pro.


The US Department of Agriculture had this to say about Roundup Pro "Consequently, it is reasonable to assume that the surfactant in Roundup Pro will enhance the toxicity of glyphosate to aquatic species."  The Santa Clara Valley Water District's Environmental Impact Report on herbicide usage states that "In extensive aquatic testing, the surfactant in Roundup is found to have greater toxicity than the active ingredient (Glyphosate)." Even Monsanto, the manufacturer of Roundup states that "This is why the formulation was not registered for aquatic uses; nor are glyphosate-containing products with POEA now registered for aquatic use."


Also troubling is the fact that San Jose Water Company uses Roundup Pro in nearly twice the recommended concentration. They use a 2% solution of Roundup, while the Santa Clara Valley Water District states that professional users of Roundup Pro typically use 'about 1%'.


The Los Gatos Creek watershed is a known habitat for the California Red-Legged Frog. This is the frog made famous in Mark Twain's short story "The Celebrated Jumping Frog Of Calaveras County". The frog is listed as a threatened species under the federal Endangered Species Act and its existence in the watershed is known to the SJWC.


Terry Clark
September 5, 2006