Public Safety

Herbicide accidentally sprayed on Marion neighborhood

Officials say event 'poses little risk to the public'

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MARION — A broadleaf herbicide was inadvertently sprayed on a northeast Marion neighborhood Tuesday, according to officials from the Marion Fire Department.

Fire department officials said 911 calls started coming in around 7 p.m. Tuesday reporting a white substance on cars and houses in the city. The Linn County Hazardous Material Team was called in and determined the substance to be a herbicide.

The substance is believed to have come from a crop duster, officials said.

Authorities said the affected area surrounded the Marion Swimming Pool, bordered by 31st Street, McGowan Boulevard, 41st Street, Willowridge Road and Willowood Avenue.

Karlene Hummel, recreation aquatics coordinator for the city of Marion, said Wednesday morning lessons at the pool were canceled, but operations went on as scheduled after that. Hummel said staff hosed down all of the surfaces, fencing, chairs and benches around the pool and let the pool chemicals take care of the rest.

“The chlorine kills off what would have come in,” she said. “We’re good to go.”

There was no evidence of the herbicide by late Wednesday morning. Several residents said they had heard of the accidental spraying, but were not personally affected.

Marion Fire Chief Deb Krebill said the morning dew likely created enough water to take care of the remaining herbicide residue. As of Wednesday afternoon, the pilot of the crop duster had not been identified. Krebill said even if the pilot was identified, he or she would not be facing any charges.

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Fire department officials said the concentration of herbicide “poses little risk to the public;” however, homeowners are advised to use the same precautions as when normal lawn care products are used and keep children and pets away from the affected areas.

Hard surfaces can be cleaned with soapy water and vegetation can be rinsed with water, officials said.

If anyone discovers a white powder or white, sticky substance on their vehicle, residence or yard, they are asked to call the Marion Fire Department at 319-377-8237.

l Comments: (319) 398-8238; lee.hermiston@thegazette.com

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