Sunday, August 30, 2015

Home News Washington considers banning phosphorus in lawn fertilizer

Washington considers banning phosphorus in lawn fertilizer

Industry News

A bill before the state senate would require low- or no-phosphorus fertilizers for lawns.


OLYMPIA – Washington, which already has restrictions on laundry and dishwasher detergents, could ban phosphorus in lawn fertilizers.

A bill before the state Senate would require low- or no-phosphorus fertilizers for lawns, although not for golf courses or on farms.

It got a series of thumbs-up Tuesday from environmental groups and Spokane businesses that included Avista and Inland Empire Paper Co..
 
It was opposed, however, by agriculture groups and landscapers.
 
Phosphorus can stimulate algae growth in lakes and streams. The city and county of Spokane, as well as other large producers of waste water along the Spokane River such as Inland Empire Paper, are under orders to reduce phosphorus. Inland Empire Paper is a subsidiary of Cowles Co., which also owns The Spokesman-Review.
 
Some phosphorus in lawn fertilizers do not bind with the soil and run off lawns from watering or rain, the Senate Environment, Water and Energy Committee was told. Storm water runoff is typically not treated by sewage facilities that can remove phosphorus.
 
“This is critically important in places such as Spokane, which are trying to reach the lowest phosphorus levels in the country,” said Rick Eichstaedt, who heads the Center for Justice’s Spokane Riverkeeper program. It’s particularly important for residents along Long Lake, where noxious algae blooms every summer, he added.
 
Heather Hanson, who represents farm groups and landscapers, said phosphorus occurs naturally in the environment, and it’s impossible to separate it from some organic fertilizers. The bill requires expensive soil tests and ties enforcement actions to neighbor complaints, she said.
 
“Do you really want neighbors complaining about neighbors?” Hanson asked.
 
State Sen. Chris Marr, D-Spokane, a bill co-sponsor, noted farmers and landscapers are exempted and wondered about their opposition: “Is this just a general concern, or a love of phosphates?”
 
Washington banned phosphate laundry detergents in 1993, and began a similar ban on phosphate dishwashing detergents in 2008. The ban started in Spokane, Clark and Whatcom counties, and is scheduled to take effect in the rest of the state this year.

Top news

To seed or not to seed

Contractors share their preferences on how to install fresh turf for customers.

Fall forecast

Protect your customers' lawns with pre-emergent applications.

After the storm

Landscape firms share how they run disaster response, storm cleanup and water damage prevention services.

The usual suspects

Be on the lookout for typical weeds and diseases this fall.

Heavy duty

Strategies for pricing the big jobs and handling your largest pieces of equipment.

x