Amended Requirements for Pesticide Commercial Lawn Care Contracts
What does the recently enacted law mean for applicators, owners, or owners agents?
On September 23, 2011, Chapter 526 was signed into law. That law amends Section 33-1001 of the Environmental Conservation Law (ECL). That section requires lawn care companies to provide certain information to property owners prior to any commercial lawn application (see "specific language" below).
This law will permit owners or their agents to decide if information pertaining to the pesticides, scheduled to be applied to their lawns, should be in written, digital or electronic format, provided that commercial lawn pesticide applicators must have a written copy in their possession.
The prior statutory language pertaining to commercial lawn applicators limited them to providing this information in a written copy, in at least 12 point type, to property owners or their agents. This is contrary to recent amendments to other sections of the ECL, in which the statutory language permits information to be supplied either in written, digital or electronic format. This law will allow, at the customer's option, for the conservation of resources by allowing the applicator to provide pesticide information electronically.
However, the law still requires that prior to any commercial lawn application the applicator shall enter into a written contract with the owner of the property or his or her agent specifying the approximate date or dates of application, number of applications, and total cost for the service to be provided.
The statute is now silent on the issue of font size for the information provided to the customer if they request that it be in written format. Regulations can be more prescriptive than statute and can contain more specific standards as long as they are not inconsistent or in conflict with the statute. The existing regulations, at 6 NYCRR 325.40(a)(4), still specify 12 point type for this information, so if the customer requests a written copy it must still be in 12 point type.
What is the specific language of the Law as amended by Chapter 526? Under ECL Section 33-1001:
33-1001 Requirements and restrictions.
1. Prior to any commercial lawn application the applicator shall enter into a written contract with the owner of the property or his or her agent specifying the approximate date or dates of application, number of applications, and total cost for the service to be provided.
2. Prior to any commercial lawn application the applicator shall supply the property owner or his or her agent with a copy of:
- a list of substances to be applied including brand names and generic names of active ingredients;
- any warnings that appear on the label of pesticides to be applied that are pertinent to the protection of humans, animals or the environment; and
- the company name, address, telephone number, business registration number and applicator certification identification card number.
Such information shall be supplied in either a written, digital or electronic format which shall be determined by the owner or his or her agent provided however that the applicator must also have a written copy of such information in his or her possession.
3. In the event that application on the date or dates specified becomes infeasible, the person who is to provide such application shall give the owner or his agent oral or written notice of the proposed alternate date or dates, and shall receive acceptance of such alternate date or dates from the owner or his agent prior to initiating commercial lawn application.
4. Persons providing commercial lawn applications shall maintain copies of all contracts required pursuant to subdivision one of this section.