Wake County News

Questions raised after workers spray controversial herbicide on Raleigh greenway

In the middle of the morning you are almost guaranteed to have the Crabtree Creek Trail to yourself. And just about every morning this is where you will find Sue Sturgis walking her dogs. What she claims to have witnessed city workers doing earlier in May along the trail was alarming.

"They were spraying the trees and around the trees they had a sprayer and were spraying all the trees, so we stopped and we asked what are they spraying, and they said they were spraying AquaNeat," she said.

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AquaNeat is a glyphosate-based herbicide, kind of like Round-Up. There are several studies suggesting long-term exposure to glyphosate may cause health issues. That and the lack of clear and visible warning signs put Sturgis on high alert.

"So if we had come just a little later and we hadn't actually seen the spraying we would not have known this area had just been sprayed," said Sturgis.

CBS 17 asked the City of Raleigh if they had posted signs and they said yes they had, but the signs were already taken down just a day or two after the spraying, since they were not spraying in the area anymore.

CBS 17 also asked them about the chemical and the city responded by saying:

It is the department's policy to use the least toxic treatment.  Because the greenway system is predominately near riparian buffers and in the floodplain we use an herbicide that is labeled for safe use near water. Our staff were spraying around sign posts, cracks and bollards."

Sturgis has tangled with the city on environmental issues in the past. Her efforts are part of the reason why the city posted warning signs in the first place.

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