The City Council recently adopted the “Sustainable Pest Control and Pesticide Reduction Policy,” a City-wide policy restricting the use of pesticides on public property.

The purpose of the policy is to reduce pesticide use in Evanston through the use of sustainable pest control practices on City-owned and -leased property and to educate the general public and the private sector about these practices.

“The City of Evanston through the passing of this resolution is attempting to set an example for the community,” said Carl Caneva, division manager for the Evanston Health Department. “The resolution continues to allow the City to address public health issues as needed and calls for the City to be responsible and consider all other alternatives before applying chemicals to eliminate pests.”

The policy prohibits the City from using certain classes of pesticides, but its health department can waive these restrictions if necessary to counter a pest outbreak that poses an immediate threat, Mr. Caneva said. The policy includes notification requirements when pesticides are applied and annual training of City staff and contractors on sustainable pest control practices.

Rachel Rosenberg of the not-for-profit  Safer Pest Control Project, told the RoundTable her group worked “with the Evanston Environment Board and the City for over two years to help get this passed.

“The policy acknowledges that many pesticides are simply unnecessary, pose significant health concerns and impact our environment. Limiting pesticide use and preventing exposure is good sense, and there are effective alternatives that do not involve poisons for controlling most pests,” Ms. Rosenberg said.

Alternative approaches to conventional pest management have been shown to effectively control pests, said Mr. Caneva. One such approach is Integrated Pest Management (IPM), a technique that addresses the underlying causes of pest problems and gives preference to the safest pest control methods. Such techniques also often cost less over the long run than routine spraying. The City of Evanston staff has been trained in IPM techniques.

Evanston staff in the Health Department and Forestry Division worked with outside organizations to assess the city’s pesticide use and a subsequent proposed policy which was adopted by the City Council.