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Thiele: State Law Restricts Use Of Lawn Fertilizers Containing Phosphorus

Originally Posted: April 18, 2012

Sag Harbor - Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. (I, D, WF-Sag Harbor) reminds East Enders to be mindful of a new State law that limits the percentage of phosphorus in lawn fertilizers and restricts the time of year and locations where fertilizers can be used. The fertilizer provisions of the New York State Dishwasher Detergent and Nutrient Runoff Law went into effect on January 1, 2012.

The new restrictions, affecting those who fertilize their lawns this spring, will reduce the quantity of phosphorus entering the State's waters, diminishing the degradation to ponds, rivers, lakes and streams.

Under the new provisions of the law, the use of phosphorus fertilizer on lawns or non-agricultural turf is restricted. Only lawn fertilizer with less than 0.67 percent by weight phosphate content may be applied legally.

Application of any fertilizer containing nitrogen, phosphorus or potassium on lawns or non-agricultural turf is prohibited between December 1 and April 1. Application of any fertilizer on lawns or non-agricultural turf within 20 feet of a water body or on paved surfaces is restricted. Retailers must display phosphorus fertilizer separately from phosphorus-free fertilizer and must post signs notifying customers of the terms of the law.

Phosphorus is carried to ponds, rivers, lakes and streams from lawn areas by stormwater runoff. Phosphorus in water has been linked to reductions in oxygen necessary for fish to breathe, algae that turn waterbodies green and algae and algae by-products that degrade drinking water.

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