There's a new law that went into effect at the beginning of this year that restricts the use of lawn fertilizers. The idea is to help protect our waterways from dangerous runoff which can cause algae.
It's a pretty picture. New York is filled with lakes, ponds, and streams. But more and more of them are being impacted by phosphorous, which can cause a number of problems.
"It promotes the growth of algae and other vegetation in the waterways," says Dixon Rollins the Regional Water Engineer with the D.E.C.
Algae blooms can impact drinking water, fishing, and other recreational activities.
So the state passed a law that began this year. It limits the amount of phosphorus allowed in general fertilizers and dishwasher detergents.
"We just try to protect our resources the best we can. This is just another tool to protect water resources of the state," says Rollins.
The public is being en couraged to look closely at bags of fertilizer before they buy them.
"There are three numbers the first being nitrogen, the second being phosphorous, and the being potassium. If it's a zero on the bag, the middle number, it means there is no phosphorous or minimal phosphorus in that particular bag of fertilizer," says Rollins.
At Tractor Supply in Honeoye Falls, there are even signs teaching customers about the new law.
There are some exceptions. New lawns often need phosphorus and some soils lack the nutrient. But the D.E.C. hopes that homeowners will do their research to try and cut back for everyone's sake.
"The idea is to reduce the amount of nutrient that gets into the local water bodies to minimize or try to reduce the amount of algae or other growth that might occur," says Rollins
Currently 70 water bodies in the state have been impaired by phosphorous and that includes part of Lake Ontario.
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