Historic Fruit Orchards: A Sour Aftertaste
Fruit orchards are common in southwestern Michigan due to the favorable soils and climate for growing apples, peaches, plums, and cherries. Over the years, many of the original fruit orchards have been replaced with row crops or redeveloped for residential or commercial use. Even if a property hasn't been used a fruit orchard for many years, the pesticides commonly used from the early-1900s until the 1960s could still remain in the shallow soils.
The concentrations of residual pesticides in soils vary from site to site due to variable rates of application and farming practices. If fruit orchards are identified in a property's history, Prism recommends conducting sampling activities to determine the concentrations of residual pesticides, to understand if an agricultural exemption applies, and to evaluate any potential health risks or exposure pathways. Prism can provide assistance and site-specific recommendations if a property was historically used as a fruit orchard.