Syracuse (WSYR-TV) -- First it was dishwasher soap, now it’s fertilizer that’s being targeted to help protect our drinking water. Starting January 1, a state law aims to cut down on the use of lawn fertilizer containing phosphorus.
Once the new year hits, you’ll no longer be able to fertilizer your lawn if the fertilizer contains phosphorus.
The danger is when the fertilizer makes its way to lakes and streams through runoff. The new law also bans the use of fertilizer within 20 feet of surface water and requires the clean-up of fertilizer spilled on impervious surfaces. Use of fertilizer between December and April 1 will also be prohibited. Retailers will now be required to display phosphorous fertilizers and those without, separately. Phosphorus is a naturally occurring element, but in high doses spurs algae growth.
“Some of these algae blooms can produce toxins, which can be poisonous to people, animals and fish,” said SUNY ESF’s, Dr. Lee Newman.
The only exception to using phosphorus is if you are establishing a new lawn or if you have a soil test done that shows low levels of phosphorus. Garden and agricultural fertilizers are not affected by the law.
Back in 2010, the state banned the use of phosphorus in dishwasher detergents for household use. In 2013 , that ban will apply to dishwasher detergents for commercial use.
Sixteen other states have passed similar phosphorus laws to New York State.