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California Environmental Protection Agency

Department of Pesticide Regulation

Date: November 20, 1998 (98-33)
Web site:

Media Contact:
Veda Federighi,
(916) 445-3974
Glenn Brank
(916) 445-3970


SACRAMENTO--Cal/EPA's Department of Pesticide Regulation has published a unique and comprehensive workbook to help protect water quality by promoting safe use and disposal of pesticides in homes and gardens.

"We have mailed free copies of the 160-page H20 Home to Ocean workbook to more than 500 publicly owned treatment works (POTWs) throughout California," said DPR Director James W. Wells. "We designed the workbook to provide these waste water treatment utilities with detailed, step-by-step instructions on how to launch their own public education campaigns for water quality protection, or -- if they already have an outreach program -- to enhance it.

"The workbook also provides specific consumer messages and graphics to encourage safe pesticide use and disposal, including home tips for reduced-risk pest control," said Wells. "It's all built around the theme H2O Home to Ocean, to reinforce the message that what we do in and around our own homes can have far-reaching impacts."

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 9, headquartered in San Francisco, provided project funding with a pollution prevention grant. Although DPR designed the H2O Home to Ocean program for POTWs, the information and graphics will be available to the public and other water agencies via a new Web site set up by DPR at The Web site also features links to other sites with helpful pollution prevention material, including DPR's at (

Improper use and disposal of pesticides can impair water quality. Consumers sometimes carelessly dispose of excess pesticides by pouring them down the drain or into the gutter. Pesticide residue runoff from lawns and other surfaces also contributes to the problem. Sewage treatment plants typically do not treat wastewater for pesticides, so these residues pass into surface waters, impacting the aquatic food chain. Residues may harm wildlife habitats, jeopardize the recreational use of rivers and lakes, and even contaminate drinking water. Such contamination can also be costly for water and sanitary districts, and ratepayers. Districts may face fines from regulatory agencies ranging up to thousands of dollars per day if their treatment plants fail to meet water quality standards.

A few POTWs have created outstanding outreach and education campaigns, but many utilities have neither the expertise nor funding for these programs. The H20 Home to Ocean workbook avoids duplication of effort and significantly lowers the cost of a POTW outreach campaign. The guide includes:

  • Camera-ready brochures, bill inserts, a poster and other materials presented in English and Spanish with an H20 Home to Ocean logo.
  • Cost-benefit analyses for various communications tools, ranging from public service announcements to billboards to the Internet.
  • A media relations primer, including tips on developing articles and contacts with print and broadcast reporters and editors.
  • Resource and reference materials for POTWs that offer more information about integrated pest management (IPM) and specific reduced-risk pest control methods.
  • A case study of a wide-ranging outreach program conducted by the Central Contra Costa Sanitary District in the San Francisco East Bay Area.

H20 Home to Ocean grew out of a 1995 statewide survey in which DPR asked POTWs to assess the impact of improper pesticide disposal in surface and ground water. The survey also asked POTWs which methods they found most effective in communicating with consumers, and whether POTWs wanted a statewide campaign or preferred to fashion their own programs. By a large margin, POTW respondents favored building their own campaigns to suit individual needs and budgets. DPR created the workbook concept, provided technical information and review, and supervised development of materials by Fleishman-Hillard, Inc., an international communications consulting firm. The logo and graphics were created by Lisa Wood Design of Fair Oaks, Calif.

Note: An electronic version of the Home to Ocean graphic on the first page of this release is available at An additional large graphic illustrating integrated pest management tips is also available.

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