Lawn fertilizers are often implicated as a major source of phosphate pollution. When improperly applied, spilled onto streets, sidewalks and driveways both organic or manufactured fertilizer will pollute our groundwater, lakes and streams.
Research shows with proper application, lawn fertilizer does not pollute. When phosphates are applied to soils, they quickly bind to soil particles, much like a magnet picks up paper clips. Soil-bound phosphates contribute to pollution when soil erosion occurs or when fertilizer is over-spread or spilled onto hard surfaces like streets, driveways and sidewalks then rain or excess irrigation runoff washes phosphates through the storm drains into lakes and rivers.
High phosphate levels support over-production of algae and water weeds. However, many of us have misconceptions regarding the source of polluting phosphates, and many homeowners unknowingly contribute to the problem. Research studies indicate that 80 percent of the
phosphorous from urban settings comes from lawn clippings and leaves that end up in street gutters. A few grass clippings mowed into the street may look rather innocent but, collectively they have a major impact on our water quality.
We can all take an active part in protecting our water quality by keeping fertilizers, leaves and grass clippings off streets and driveways. Prevent soil erosion by planting slopes with deep rooting grasses. We have a part in protecting our water, our most valuable resources!