One thing I was unclear of from your post: did you actually see the
ChemLawn guy spraying or do you just have a strong suspicion? (I'm not
doubting that it happened as you say it did, but I also know that in court
you'd need more than strong circumstantial evidence in a situation like
If you have the equipment and can estimate when they'll be returning, it
might be worth setting up something that would videotape them completing the
A friend of mine used to use our local ChemLawn company to do his yard. His
neighbor worked for the FBI. One day while the neighbor was working at home
he saw the ChemLawn guy drive up, get out of the vehicle, write up a bill,
and place it on the customer's door. He never actually did any kind of
service. Rather than drop the company upon finding out about this, he
arranged some video equipment he had to tape when the company came out the
next time and had a videotape showing a repeat of the previous occurence.
It's amazing how quickly one can get a refund for all money paid when the
company is presented with clear video evidence.
I have strong circumstantial evidence, but IMHO physical evidence is
stronger than the testimony of one eye witness. Ideally, I would have
videotape, or physical evidence plus a half-dozen eye witnesses... but
if I'd known ahead of time that this was going to happen I could have
confronted the guy.
I like the idea of catching him on video next time, but I don't have the
means to do that. I may try to find out when they are coming back to
this neighborhood and plan to be home that day.
Meanwhile, I can complain to whoever issued their business license,
franchise, pesticide license, etc. If any of these are suspended for a
while, they could lose a lot of customers when they can't fullfill their
season-long lawn service contracts.
Although it won't help in your present dilemma, get in touch with your
county & state legislators and see if anyone's already discussing the idea
of forcing the lawn spray idiots to give neighbors 2-3 days' notice before
they treat lawns. It's gone back and forth in my county legislature.
Unfortunately, the chemical companies are still playing golf with the right
people in government, but we're closing to having a law here.
A number of years ago, An old man across the street sprayed a
shrub in his neighbor's yard he didn't like with herbicide. A
tree sprayer hired by the neighbor noticed the damage, and after
questioning the neighbor, reported the action to the state E.P.A.
They came out and gave a stern talking to the old man.
Would you really consider anything grown after being sprayed with
2,4,d to be something you'd feed to your family. I'd consider the
entire area to be contaminated, requiring replacement of the soil
before use for a vegetable garden.
At least in New Jersey, it's the state department of environmental protection
that enforces pesticide and herbicide application regulations. When I was in
college, I got a job for a while in the new Jersy Department of Environmental
Protection, Division of Environmental Quality, Department of Pesticide Control
in the Office of Enforcement as an inspector. Now that was a mouthful!!!!
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