Reporting chemical spray drift or off-target movement
Enquiries and complaints about spray drift or other off-target movement of agricultural chemicals should be directed to:
Agvet Chemicals Program
Phone: 03 6777 2133
Under certain conditions, chemical may move to non-target areas during spraying or shortly after application. This may result from poor application technique (incorrect pressure, speed or nozzle type used during application), application when wind speed is too great, volatilisation of fine droplets and drift under certain environmental conditions.
A common misunderstanding relating to agricultural chemical use is that if you can smell the chemical, then drift must have occurred. This is not necessarily the case as many agricultural chemicals have a strong odour which can be detected quite some distance from where the spraying occurs. The quantity of chemical that can be detected in this way for chemicals that have strong odours, has been shown scientifically to be so small that it is harmless.
Information that you may be able to provide when reporting spray drift that will assist with investigations is:
- the date, time and location where the incident occurred
- the name and contact details of the user or operator
- the method by which the agricultural chemical was applied (plane, boom spray, etc.)
- the weather conditions, particularly air temperature and wind speed and direction
- the name of the agricultural chemical if known
- the impact from the incident (e.g. risk/damage to crops, livestock, health, environment)
- the names of witnesses and their contact details
- supporting evidence e.g. photos and videos
Providing as much detail as possible in your initial contact will greatly assist with following up the incident.
The success of an investigation will depend on the:
- information you provide when you lodge the complaint
- evidence investigators gather to support a case for possible legal action
- reliable supporting evidence from eyewitnesses
Investigations can be complex and may not always result in favourable outcome on behalf of complainants.
The complaint will be assessed and appropriate action may take the form of:
- no action if the report of spray drift could not be substantiated
- a meeting with relevant parties to encourage communication between neighbours
- an advisory or warning letter
- regulatory action
- referring the complaint to another agency as appropriate
At any time, you can opt to take private civil action through the court to try to recover any losses sustained from damage or injury caused by spray drift.