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Vegetation Management at Hydro: What you should know about herbicide use

August 17th, 2022
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Vegetation Management at Hydro

Vegetation growth along our right-of-ways and properties, such as power lines, access roads and terminal stations, is a safety concern to both Hydro crews and the public.

Trees are excellent conductors of electricity – when they grow too close or fall into power lines, trees can cause public safety risks like contact with high voltage power lines, fire, and power outages.

How do we manage vegetation?

Under Hydro’s Vegetation Management Plan, several methods are used to control vegetation in order to maintain the safety and reliability of our lines including manual brush clearing, tree trimming and the selective use of herbicides.

Why use herbicides?

Given the thousands of lines that must be maintained, as well as geographic and terrain challenges, manual clearing and tree trimming must be combined with the selective application of herbicides. Repeated cutting of hardwood species such as alder increases the stem density and root mass and only provides short term control. Selective herbicide use helps to greatly reduce potential power outages, fire hazards, and safety risks.

The goal of Hydro’s vegetation management program is to remove the vegetation that poses potential dangers (such as spruce, fir, juniper, birch, and alder) and promote the growth of low growing species such as grasses and berries.

How and where do we spray?

The application of herbicide products is a highly regulated activity by Health Canada. Hydro takes great care to adhere to all regulations and application guidelines. The type of products used and how the products are applied is done according to regulations that are in place under the Pesticide Control Act to ensure the protection of Human Health and the Environment. For example, operators must be licensed and must adhere to buffer zones near bodies of water, private land, wells, and residential areas.

How will people know we are spraying?

Newspaper advertisements are published prior to spraying activity.  In addition, signage is posted in any areas that have been sprayed – on every access point to the treated area on the transmission line and on every 5th tower/pole in the treatment area. We also require that Town Councils be notified if the application of herbicides is done on our transmission and distribution line right-of -ways within town boundaries.

Can you eat the berries from sprayed areas?

Herbicide products are mixed at very low rates and most of the spray (over 99%) is water. By applying the products according to the strict regulations, risks to human health and the environment are avoided. If a person were to eat sprayed berries there is no need for concern.

How is the Public notified?

Prior to commencement of work, a notice will be placed in local newspapers advising the general public of the vegetation control being carried out on transmission or distribution line rights-of-way in their region. Areas treated with herbicides will be identified by posting signs on the rights-of-way indicating date of application and product applied.

Are there other safety concerns?

Although power line right of ways and access roads are often popular for recreational activities (like berry picking) people should use extreme caution when accessing right of ways either on foot or via ATV. These are not public roads and real hazards do exist, such as guy wires and active maintenance activity.


Summer 2022 Vegetation Management

What areas are being sprayed this year on the Island Interconnected System?  

  • Transmission line right of ways from Buchans to Bottom Brook
  • Transmission line right of ways from Stony Brook Terminal Station to Gander
  • Transmission line right of ways from Cat Arm to Deer Lake
  • Distribution line right of ways near Petit Forte on the Burin Peninsula
  • Distribution line right of ways near English Harbour West
  • Areas near Hydro’s facilities – Millertown Dam, Upper Salmon, and Bay d’Espoir
  • Distribution systems in Plum Point and Hawke’s Bay
  • Upper Salmon Road.

What areas are being sprayed on the Labrador-Island Link?

  • Northern Peninsula
    – Brian’s Pond North to Eastern Blue Pond
    – Pikey’s Feeder North to Round Lake
    – Squid Cove Access Road
    – Ten Mile Lake to Shoal Cove
  • Central and Western NL
    – Goodyear’s Cove and Sheffield Lake Areas
    – Birchy Lake South
    – Dawe’s Pond South and Mint Brook Access Roads
  • Labrador
    – Muskrat Falls to St. Paul’s Access Road
    – 25 km of Right-of-Way near the Three Rocks Communication Facility
    – 50 km of Right-of-Way on the St. Paul’s Access Road

What Products are being used?

Selective application of the herbicides Escort (PCP# 23005), Banvel VM (PCP# 29249), Clearview Brush (PCP# 29752/28945), Navius Flex (PCP# 30922), Aspect Herbicide (PCP# 31641), Detail (PCP# 32773), Garlon XRT (PCP# 28945), Hasten NT (PCP# 28277), and Gateway Adjuvent (PCP# 31470). The products used, and their application rates, are highly regulated to ensure there is no risk to public health and safety.

Where can I get more information?