Michigan Collects One Million Pounds of Unwanted, Outdated Pesticides for Safe Disposal

In September 2004, state, federal and local officials collected the millionth pound of potentially dangerous, outdated pesticides from Michigan for safe disposal through the Clean Sweep program during National Pollution Prevention Week.

Michigan Department of Agriculture (MDA) Director Dan Wyant was on hand with other state, local and federal agency representatives to assist with the collection in a special ceremony at the Kalamazoo County Clean Sweep site. He highlighted the role Clean Sweep plays in helping the state protect its natural resources and prevent agricultural-related pollution.

“Clean Sweep is a shining example of the environmental protection that can be accomplished with state, federal, local and industry partnerships and pooling of resources,” Wyant said. “Because of this unique collaboration, the program has been able to achieve a tremendous milestone — the proper disposal of one million pounds (or 500 tons) of old or unwanted pesticides — in just a few short years. This translates into a cleaner environment with safer farmsteads, households and communities as well as protected groundwater.”

Michigan Clean Sweep collects and safely disposes of outdated, unused, unwanted, and potentially harmful pesticides like DDT and chlordane as well as lead arsenate and mercury. The state, in cooperation with local and federal partners, has established 15 permanent Clean Sweep sites located throughout Michigan to accept these materials at no cost from farmers, golf courses, agri-businesses and other individuals.

Started in 1996, Clean Sweep is made possible by a variety of resources and entities. Construction of sites is funded primarily by grants from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, with support from local units of government and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. MDA, through its Michigan Groundwater Stewardship Program, funded with fees paid by pesticide and nitrogen fertilizer users, helps coordinate the program and pays for the safe and proper disposal of pesticides dropped off at sites. Local units of government staff and maintain the sites, as well as schedule collections and conduct other activities.

For more information and a list of Clean Sweep sites and collection schedules across Michigan, visit www.michigan.gov/mda or call (517) 241-0236.