What to do if you suspect damage or contamination by a pesticide application:
1. Contact ODA immediately. A long time lapse will make it difficult for ODA to document violations for enforcement action.
2. You should record a detailed description of what you witnessed or what you believed happened. When you record details about the drift incident, be sure to include:
- The date, time, and location the alleged drift incident occurred.
- The name of the pesticide applicator.
- The wind speed (gusty, high, low) and wind direction (toward or away from your property).
- Take several photos and be sure the photos include a time and date stamp. It may take 7-10 days for herbicide symptoms to appear. You will not usually notice any plant damage or symptoms from insecticides and fungicides.
- Detailed notes of every conversation, phone call, and correspondence related to the incident.
- If you did not see the pesticide application, but noticed injury to plants, honeybees, fish, landscaping, etc., write down the date and details of when you first noticed the injury.
What to expect after filing a pesticide complaint:
The investigation of complaints is at no cost to the complainant. Here’s what will happen after you file a formal complaint with ODA:
1. ODA will immediately investigate cases that involve human health. Most other complaints can take up to 10 days or longer before action, depending on the inspector’s case load.
2. An ODA inspector will make an appointment with you to see the location where the alleged violation occurred.
3. The inspector will examine and photograph the site and may take physical samples.
4. The inspector will contact the applicator to inquire about what pesticides were applied and other pertinent information.
5. After the inspector has gathered all of the necessary information, ODA administrative and technical staff will review the case for possible violations of Ohio Pesticide Laws. This process can take a few months to a year.
6. If ODA concludes that there was a violation, ODA will address the violation with the applicator.
7. ODA will provide a case summary to the complainant at the conclusion of the investigation and enforcement action (if applicable). Completed ODA cases are considered public information and can be requested by anyone.
Remember: Ultimately, pesticide complaints are a civil matter between the parties involved. ODA’s primary focus in any complaint investigation is to determine whether Ohio’s pesticide laws have been violated. ODA is authorized to take enforcement action if a violation is found. However, ODA is not authorized to pursue damages or restitution on behalf of any individual or person whose property has been damaged due to a pesticide application. You may wish to contact an attorney to discuss any options that you may have to pursue restitution associated with any damaged property.