Hillsborough County Moves to Ban Summer Fertilizer

Vote on Fertilizer ordinance
TAMPA (2010-3-3) -

It's considered the biggest source of nutrient pollution in Florida's waterways. Runoff from fertilizer has been blamed for everything from fouling Florida's springs to contributing to red tide offshore. Hillsborough County is about to restrict its use.

State environmental regulators have told each county to draft an ordinance that regulates use of fertilizer. Some counties - such as Pinellas - have gone further, banning both the sale and application of fertilizer during the summer.

Now, Hillsborough is considering a similar law. It held a public meetings on the issue Tuesday.

Environmentalists support a ban, saying summer rains wash much of the nutrients into area waterways. But lawn companies and nursery owners say it would hurt their businesses.

Rick Garrity, director of the Hillsborough Environmental Protection Commission, says it will be tough to reach agreement on a summer sales ban.

"I think there's a lot of common ground in wanting clean water, but there's a difficulty in getting consensus in banning application during the summer, and a sales ban," says Garrity. "We'll keep trying to work with both groups, to see if there's more area for consensus, But so far, that's been the difficult part."

The final public hearing will be held March 31st. A recommendation will be made to the EPC board in April or May.

To review the proposed fertilizer ordinance, CLICK HERE.

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