LIVINGSTON COUNTY — The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation launched its ‘Look for the Zero’ campaign, urging New York residents to use phosphorous-free fertilizers.
According to a press release from the DEC, over 100 bodies of water in New York State cannot be used or enjoyed due to their overabundance of phosphorous.
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“The actions New Yorkers take in their backyards can have a big impact on the environment,” warns DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. “By choosing sustainable lawn care, homeowners are helping to protect water quality and public health.”
According to the DEC, New York’s nutrient runoff law prohibits the use of fertilizers containing phosphorous, except in the cases of newly established lawns, or in areas where the soil has been proven to be deficient in phosphorous. Phosphorous applied to lawns that do not need it will not be used and can pollute lakes and streams, regardless of the lawn’s location.
“Excess phosphorous is causing problems in many New York water bodies, making them unuseable for swimming, fishing, or as a source of drinking water,” continued Commissioner Seggos. “I urge residents to ‘look for the zero’ and buy phosphorous-free fertilizer this spring. By eliminating phosphorous and reducing pesticide use on lawns, New Yorkers can play an important role in addressing water quality impairments across the state.”
The ‘Look for the Zero’ campaign references the three bold numbers on fertilizer labels, the number in the middle being the phosphorous content. For example, a fertilizer labeled 22-0-15 would be legal and safe, according to the DEC.