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County Executive Leopold Directs County Facilities to Stop Using High-Phosphate Fertilizer

Move will decrease harmful nutrients washing into waterways

Annapolis (October 13, 2009) -County Executive John R. Leopold today announced that County agencies will no longer use high-phosphorus fertilizer in an effort to decrease the amount of nutrients entering waterways.

"Phosphates are a source of pollution in creeks, rivers and the Chesapeake Bay," County Executive Leopold said. "We must do everything we can to reduce our use of this nutrient and also set an example to our residents that we need to change our behavior in order to fix our broken waterways."

High-phosphorus fertilizer is normally used as a starter fertilizer to grow grass. In 2008 over a six-month period, for example, the Department of Recreation and Parks purchased 95,000 pounds of fertilizer with a phosphorous content of 19 percent. All future purchases will contain less than 5 percent phosphorous. The County’s move to low-phosphorous products is consistent with the goals in the state’s Chesapeake Bay Phosphorus Reduction Act of 2009, which bans sales of high-phosphorus products for certain uses as of April 2011.

"Equally important with this issue is the proper application of fertilizer to reduce runoff," County Executive Leopold said. "The lawn should be lightly watered after application, and any fertilizer spilled on impervious surfaces should be promptly cleaned up. We can all make a difference in the health of our waterways."


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