The Issue

A pesticide, sometimes referred to as a biocide, is a general term to describe substances used for preventing, destroying, repelling, or mitigating any biological pest. The most widely used types of pesticides in Canada include herbicides for weed control, insecticides for insect control and fungicides for fungi control. There are many other types of pesticides such as rodenticides to control rodents, or antimicrobials and disinfectants to control bacteria and viruses. Ideally, a pesticide should be harmful to the pests of interest only and not to other, non-target organisms.

Pesticides have provided incredible advantages to societies in many ways, for example, by increasing crop yields and therefore bolstering food availability and the economy. Unfortunately, their use can have negative impacts as well. The agricultural, pesticide-producing and scientific communities are continually challenged to find sustainable solutions. This is a very difficult goal to achieve, especially when adverse effects to the environment from the chemicals used are not always known.


Herbicides, such as 2,4-D, can be applied by spraying operations and can volatilize and drift through the atmosphere to unintended target areas, including aquatic systems. Herbicides have the potential to travel through the atmosphere for hundreds of kilometres from the original source and be deposited in distant and possibly pristine aquatic systems (Metcalfe et al., 2016; Thurman and Cromwell, 2000).

Contamination can occur from improper handling and use of pesticides, including:

  • spilling pesticide concentrate when mixing and loading sprayers;
  • dropping or fracturing containers, spilling pesticide concentrate;
  • discarding unrinsed, “empty” containers in or near a water supply;
  • back-siphoning or overfilling sprayer tanks without an anti-backflow device;
  • rinsing or washing spray equipment near a water source;
  • applying pesticides under windy conditions, causing spray or vapour drift;
  • allowing pesticides to move from treated land via runoff water, heavy rain or soil erosion;
  • spilling pesticides that then leach into groundwater and move laterally into aquifers.
À une époque où tous les citoyens se préoccupent de la qualité de l’environnement, RSI Environnement procède à la décontamination et au traitement des sols contaminés de manière sécuritaire pour les transformer en sols propres valorisables et réutilisables.
80, rue des Mélèzes
Saint-Ambroise (Québec)
G7P 2N4
1 800-676-7849
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