Golf Course Management

MAY 2014

Golf Course Management magazine is dedicated to advancing the golf course superintendent profession and helping GCSAA members achieve career success.

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48 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 05.14 When Imprelis was introduced, Hillcrest Country Club superintendent Joe Aholt never had seen anything like it for broadleaf weed control. "It was a miracle product," says Aholt, a 20-year member of GCSAA. It took just 2 ounces per acre of Imprelis to eradicate weeds at the Boise, Idaho, course, Aholt says, and it performed admirably. "You knew within a month the weed would be gone," Aholt says. "You had to be patient with it, but it worked. You could spray it in rain, cold, heat. It was the cleanest my course had been, ever." Imprelis appeared to be a game-changer. Like Aholt, others applauded its effectiveness. Un - like some herbicides, where the smell lingers throughout the day, Imprelis was different: It was odorless. Today, years after being removed from the market, Imprelis remains visible. Imprelis — the herbicide, created by DuPont for professional use on golf courses, residential areas and institutional lawns — is no longer available for sale. It has been that way for quite a while. DuPont voluntarily pulled Imprelis from the market in August 2011 before the Environmen - tal Protection Agency (EPA) issued a mandatory stop-sale order on Imprelis after being alerted of numerous reports from golf courses to nurseries that the product was suspected of injuring and, in some cases, killing trees. Norway spruce, white pines and honey locust proved to be among the species of trees that were susceptible. In October 2013, a settlement was reached in a class-action lawsuit against E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. (DuPont) over Imprelis. More than three-dozen class-action lawsuits originally were fled in multiple federal courts throughout the U.S. Ultimately, the class-action lawsuits were consolidated and transferred into one case and entered into the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. In some instances, golf courses settled their claims directly with DuPont. Three classes were established in the settlement. Class 1 included property owners who own or owned property in the U.S.; Class 2 was applicators (lawn care professionals); and Class 3 included golf courses and other Imprelis self-applicators. They were eligible to be part of the claim if they used Imprelis be - tween Aug. 31, 2010, and Aug. 21, 2011, as long as they submitted or accepted a claim through the manufacturer's Imprelis Claims Resolution Process. New York and California were not included because Imprelis was not approved for use in those states. Approximately 38,000 claims have been submitted through the Imprelis Claims Resolution Process, DuPont spokesman Gregg Schmidt told GCM in March. DuPont estimates there will be $1.175 billion in total charges to compensate customers, according to Schmidt. States that participated in the class-action lawsuit were Connecticut, Delaware, Indiana, Kan - sas, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Settlements vary in scope and payouts, according to published reports. Two examples: e Owatonna People's Press in Owatonna, Minn., reported that the city received a check last year from DuPont for $1.85 million for damage to trees at Brooktree Golf Course. Lake County For - est Preserve District in Illinois received nearly $836,000 from DuPont for damages, according to the C icago Tribune. "We are pleased with the progress we have made in resolving claims for damage," Schmidt says via email. "To date, we have made offers of resolution to approximately 90 percent of claimants." GCM attempted to speak with several superintendents and others in the industry for this story. Some, because of claims that have not yet been processed, declined, a sure signal that Imprelis has not completely vanished from the radar. What's in a name? For years, DuPont was committed to superintendents through its work with major universities for turf feld research. DuPont regularly disseminated its research through sales representatives, associations, distributors, webcasts and one-on-one meetings. For example, in 2010 DuPont updated its Weevil Trak website, which offered superintendents more features to help control annual bluegrass weevil. Also that year, the EPA conditionally registered aminocyclopyrachlor. That is the active ingre - dient in Imprelis. According to the EPA website, "the studies originally submitted were adequate to make a statutory fnding for registration." The EPA determined aminocyclopyrachlor was a "selective, low-toxicity herbicide that pro - Imprelis appeared to be a game- changer. Unlike some herbicides, where the smell lingers throughout the day, Imprelis was different: It was odorless. 046-053_May14_Imprelis.indd 48 4/17/14 9:26 AM

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