Augusta Proposes Chemical Warfare In Battle Of Overgrown Grass - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken News, Weather, Sports

Augusta Proposes Chemical Warfare In Battle Of Overgrown Grass

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Jacquelyn Terry works for a moving company, and her job keeps her on the road every day. She says the grass on the roadside not only looks bad, it's dangerous. "When you're coming up and down the street, you've got cars coming from left to right you've got to pay attention to the view. It stands up this high, you can't see," she said, about the dangerous walls of grass that go uncut for months.

"Right now, there's still stuff that's not cut. Wat happened?" we asked Mark Johnson, the director of Augusta's Environmental Services Department.

"Lots of rain, lots of growth. We're cutting more this year, we're cutting more this [year] than we've ever cut before. It just doesn't have the same appearance," said Johnson.

Along with right-of-ways, Augusta has more than 700 vacant lots it has to take care of and with grass 7-, 8, even 9-feet tall...you can see this is a growing problem.

So, the city is looking for a solution. The plan is to use chemicals, herbicides, to spray more than 2,000 acres of city rights-of-way and lots.

The spray wouldn't be designed to wipe out all the plants, but to slow the growth. "The goal is to keep the good grass - the Bahia- and Bermuda - and get rid of the other stuff, the unsightly stuff, the stuff that grows up quick but is hard on mowers and equipment...give you a good line of sight at intersections," said Johnson.

But, getting the program started with chemicals and a sprayer, and labor costs, would run more than $470,000.

"The main questions is where are we going to find the funding to support [the plan]. That's going to be something we have to come up with," says Commissioner Wayne Guilfoyle, who chairs the Finance Committee.

But, would the public support using chemicals to cut the grass down to size? "I would be a little bit worried, because what's in it we don't know what's it is" says Terry.

Johnson says there would be "no sterilites" in the chemicals, so there would be no long term affects on plants, grasses, and weeds would still grow only at a slower rate.

The Engineering Services Committee wasn't sold on the proposal, accepting it only as information.

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