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Norman City Council to consider fertilizer ordinance

Norman City Council members Tuesday will consider an ordinance limiting the use of fertilizers containing phosphorus, which can cause an increase in algae growth if washed into Lake Thunderbird.
by Jane Glenn Cannon Published: February 26, 2013
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City council members Tuesday will consider an ordinance that would regulate the use of phosphorus-based fertilizers. The council meets at 6:30 p.m. in the Municipal Building's council chambers, 201 W Gray St.

The proposed ordinance is designed to protect Lake Thunderbird, which has too much algae growth, most commonly caused by phosphorus-based fertilizers being washed into the lake from parts of Norman, Moore and Oklahoma City.

If approved, the ordinance would restrict the application of phosphorus-based fertilizers to the first six months of turf establishment from seed or sod or unless soil samples taken from a lawn or specific area indicate the soil is deficient in phosphorus.

Commercial applicators would be required to register with the city, with a registration fee waiver available to those who certify they do not use phosphorus-based fertilizers.

City officials also would produce an informational pamphlet about the negative effects of using phosphorus-based fertilizers. Anyone selling phosphorus-based fertilizer would be required to make the pamphlets available to purchasers.

Too much algae in the lake threatens the quality of drinking water supplied to Norman, Midwest City and Del City, officials say.

Norman officials say a concerted effort to regulate the amount of phosphorous going into the lake is necessary.

Other provisions contained in the proposed ordinance require that phosphorus-based fertilizers be stored in a covered area that protects it from rainwater. No applications would be allowed if it is raining, or the soil is saturated.

Violations of the ordinance could result in fines of not less than $50 or more than $750.

by Jane Glenn Cannon
Senior Reporter
A native of Oklahoma, Jane Glenn Cannon is an award-winning reporter who has covered everything from crime, courts and government to entertainment and features. She wrote a popular personal column for many years. She is a former associate writer...
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