HUBBARDTON, Vt. (AP) – Residents of a Vermont pond that was treated with a chemical to control Eurasian milfoil won’t be able to irrigate their vegetable gardens with pond water for the summer.

Water from Beebe Pond is considered safe for general domestic use, it is not OK for use on vegetable gardens.

“You can use it on people, but you can’t use it on plants,” said Ronald Brostek, a resident and retired physician. “I find that interesting.”

Tomatoes, peppers and other plants in the nightshade family are sensitive to Sonar, and water with five parts per billion should not be irrigated with the chemical, according to the federal label.

All other use, including swimming, has resumed at Beebe Pond.

“I’ve been using it for everything,” said Brostek, who draws water from the lake after it goes through a filtering process. “I’ve been guzzling it away as usual.”

At least one Maine lake has also been chemically treated to eradicate invasive plants.

Last Monday, biologists released the chemical fluridone in the 46-acre Pickerel Pond in Limerick, where hydrilla was detected last year. It was the first documented presence of the fast-spreading plant detected in the state.

Fluridone has been used successfully in other states to get rid of hydrilla. Maine officials say fluridone shouldn’t pose any threats to human health, and that the applicator planned to return later this summer to apply more of the chemical.

After the treatment in the Vermont pond, the levels of fluridone from the Sonar were 13.8 parts per billion at the north end and 12.6 at the south end, according to Alan Breckenridge, president of the Beebe Pond Association. In addition, there was third reading of 8.9 parts per billion at the outlet of the lake, he said.

The two higher readings, among those taken 36 hours after treatment, were much greater than the target concentration of eight parts per billion.

“It not uncommon to find that in a sampling event,” said Susan Jary, a permit specialist in the Department of Environmental Conservation.

Although the herbicide Sonar tends to disperse quickly, it can take a period of days to settle down, Jary said. She said she expected follow-up readings would be in line with target ranges.

AP-ES-06-22-03 1419EDT

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