EQT drops plans to spray herbicide from helicopter in Murrysville
Officials of a Pittsburgh-based energy company have decided not to spray herbicides from a helicopter along a pipeline right of way in Pleasant Valley Park.
Officials of EQT, which owns a natural gas transmission pipeline that stretches from Penn Hills to Delmont, had planned an aerial spray of Alligare Triclopyr3 and Metsulfurin methyl-DF in the Murrysville park between Aug. 1 and Oct. 25.
However, despite reviewing the landscaping using a GIS mapping program, EQT officials had no idea they were planning to spray in an area that intersected with two walking trails in at least five locations.
“We will not be spraying around Pleasant Valley Park,” said Linda Robertson, spokeswoman for EQT. “We try to stay away from homes, streams, ponds – anywhere there are people or animals. When (our mapping people) see a big grassy area, that becomes part of what can be sprayable.”
According to a letter sent by Schoeffler Energy Group, a Texas-based land management firm, the spraying was set to be part of a vegetation-maintenance program designed to control the growth of trees, brush and other undesirable vegetation on the right of way. Robertson said maintenance around the pipeline right of way is required so that workers can have quick access to the line if there is a service problem.
After receiving a copy of the letter, Pleasant Valley Trailbuilders volunteer Joe Galvin had worries. The right of way includes four locations on Hank's Trail and at least one on the Cheeky Chipmunk Trail. Last week, he raised the issue with Murrysville Council with the hope that something could be done to limit hikers' exposure to the chemicals.
“Our big concern is how the heck are they going to know from a helicopter that no one is on the trail or in the park?” Galvin said last week.
“There's no way to prevent people from coming in contact with this.”
Councilman Dave Perry, an environmental geologist, said he worried about the possibility of overspraying from a helicopter. Perry said one of the chemicals — Metsulfurin methyl-DF — wasn't “that big of a deal” and noted that both are common.
According to the material safety data sheet for Alligare Triclopyr3, the liquid herbicide is corrosive and can cause irreversible eye damage. Under its hazard identification section, it is noted as being harmful if absorbed through the skin or swallowed and is considered a combustible liquid.
Council asked chief administrator Jim Morrison to request a more exact time frame, rather than the nearly 11 weeks in which Schoeffler had indicated the spraying could occur. Galvin said he worried that people would ignore or not even notice any signs the municipality placed in the park alerting people of the spraying, which Robertson initially said was slated to begin this week, weather permitting.
Robertson said EQT will explore other options — such as mowing or accessing the area on foot or by ATV — to maintain the property. Municipal officials said they are glad that the company has reconsidered its plan.
“It's good news,” council President Joan Kearns said. “But it would serve them well to do a little more investigation before they send out a letter like that.”
Daveen Rae Kurutz is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8627.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- God is touchy topic in ICU, Pitt study finds
- Pitt defense is entering new season with something to prove
- Two wild-card format hurting Pirates in short term
- Junior class filled with potential for talent-laden Frazier football team
- Steelers trade 6th-round pick for Jaguars kicker Scobee
- Starkey: The kick returner and the grizzly bear
- Daughter’s generosity lives on in family
- Popularity of emerging markets wanes
- Risks don’t get any better as online dating prospers
- Potential suspension of Pennsylvania AG’s license unusual
- Trib 30 takes bigger hit than Dow in August