Neighbor Notification for Lawn Applications

The new state legislation authorizes counties and New York City to adopt local laws that establish significant new notification requirements for commercial and residential lawn applications (agricultural, golf course and turf farm applications are excluded). If a county "opts-in" and adopts such a law:

  • Commercial applicators must provide 48 hours' advance written notice to occupants of neighboring dwellings with property lines within 150 feet of the application. In the case of apartment buildings, notice must be given to the owner or owners' agent, who must in turn provide advance notice to the residents of the building. Environmental Conservation Law ("ECL") § 33-1004(1)(b). The notice must at a minimum provide the following information:
    • the address of the premises where the pesticide is being applied;
    • the name, telephone number and pesticide business registration number or certified applicator number of the pesticide applicator;
    • the specific date and two rain dates for each application;
    • the name(s) and EPA registration number(s) of the pesticide(s) being applied; and
    • a prominent statement suggesting the recipient take precautions to minimize exposure and providing the telephone numbers of pesticide information lines to obtain information about the pesticide being applied.

    ECL § 33-1005(3). Commercial applicators are subject to substantial fines and criminal prosecution for violations of these requirements. ECL § 71-2907.

  • The above requirements do not apply to:
    • applications of anti-microbial products (disinfectants), biopesticides or substances exempt from federal pesticide regulation;
    • use of pesticides in aerosol cans for personal protection;
    • use of bait in tamper-resistant containers;
    • granular applications;
    • spot applications of less than 9 square feet;
    • applications by direct injection;
    • use of boric acid or horticultural nonsynthetic soaps and oils;
    • applications in cemeteries; and
    • emergency applications to protect against an imminent threat to human health (which must be immediately reported to the Commissioner of the New York State Department of Health).
  • Persons applying pesticides on their own property to an area greater than 100 square feet must place visible markers along the perimeter on the day of application with notices to warn others that pesticides have been applied and not to remove the markers for 24 hours. ECL § 1004(1)(c). This provides warning for people to avoid the treated area and keep their children and pets away.
  • Retail stores selling pesticides must post a sign warning customers to follow label directions, informing them of the posting requirements, and recommending that they notify their neighbors before the application. ECL § 1004(1)(a).

It is important to note that the above requirements only apply in counties that have adopted a local law to implement them. If your county has not adopted such a law, you may wish to contact your county legislators and encourage them to do so. A list of the chairs of all the county legislatures and a model local law to implement these new requirements are printed at the end of this guide. The local law must follow the language of the state law exactly. This is because pesticide regulation has been held to be a matter for state control, and an area in which local governments cannot act except as specifically authorized by the state.