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B&D Growers fined for pesticide violations in Shady Valley Spraying

The Tennessee Department of Agriculture (TDA) recently released the results of an investigation concerning pesticides recently applied in Shady Valley. In November, the fields in Shady Valley that are leased to grow arugula were sprayed several times with a pesticide known as metam sodium. Residents immediately noticed a strong odor that permeated throughout parts of Shady Valley, along with reports of people suffering from severe respiratory health problems.
According to the results of the TDA investigation, both Highland Soil Fumigation, who were contracted by the arugula growers, B&W Quality Growers, were cited for multiple violations related to the application of the metam sodium. TDA responded to several complaints from local residents soon after the applications were applied on both November 9th and 13th of 2010. As a result of this investigation, Highland Soil Fumigation has been cited for nine violations for failure to use metam sodium as prescribed on the product label, along with another nine violations as a result of improper record keeping.
TDA looked at multiple factors when conducting their investigation, including water samples, application records, weather conditions, the equipment, along with interviews of employees and Shady Valley residents. According to an email communication from Casey Mahoney, Assistant Director of Public Affairs with the TDA, “We determined that metam sodium was consistently over applied in separate field applications. We also determined that a hose break on the irrigation equipment used to seal the application was responsible for the increased odor. Sealing is achieved by applying water and using a roller to pack the soil after the chemical is applied. The department also found violations related to record-keeping and worker protection standards.”
Donna Reed of Shady Valley recently reported that she and members of her family continue to have health problems that began shortly after the spraying of the pesticides in November. Reed was the owner of the 71 koi and goldfish that perished soon after the spraying. Reed is still reporting respiratory problems, shortness of breath and headaches for herself and her family. “We’ve been sick every time they spray,” Reed said. “This last time was the worst. It really overcame you.” Reed added that wildlife is still scarce in her part of Shady Valley, with an absence of birds and deer.
James Woods, 63 years old, continues to have on-going health problems. According to a family member, he continues to have difficulty breathing with shortness of breath and a persistent cough. Woods has been referred to a pulmonary specialist.
The investigation should be finalized in the near future. Once it is complete, a formal Notice of Violation will be issued. Both B&W Quality Growers and Highland Soil Fumigation will be given the chance to respond to these violations. As of press time, The Tomahawk has not received a response from representatives of B&W Quality Growers with regard to the results of the TDA investigation.