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Rapid City Solid Waste finds persistent herbicides in compost

Healthy compost will always contain herbicides that deteriorate before causing harm, but persistent herbicides degrade much slower and last long enough to damage plants, causing plants to curl, slow their growth and kill younger plants.
Published: Mar. 1, 2021 at 6:36 PM CST
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - Rapid City Solid Waste has seen an increase in harmful, persistent herbicides in its compost.

Healthy compost will always contain herbicides that deteriorate before causing harm, but persistent herbicides degrade much slower and last long enough to damage plants, causing plants to curl, slow their growth and kill younger plants.

Persistent herbicides have not been seen in compost coming from Solid Waste since the 1990s. Even then, it wasn’t to this extent.

With the magnitude of compost that comes out of solid waste, it’s difficult to pinpoint the origin of the herbicide. It’s going to take time to correct the problem, but the community can play its part by reading the labels of the herbicides and refraining from using those that are persistent.

”It’s going to be a slow process on gettin’ this,” said Jeff Barber, solid waste superintendent. “It’s going to take a lot of time to get this out of our system, and it’s going to take everybody’s help to get it done.”

It’s not just here in Rapid City, these herbicides are showing up all over the nation.

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