An edition of: WaterAtlas.orgPresented By: Seminole County, USF Water Institute

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Seminole County Commissioners approve new fertilizer ordinance

After months of tweaking, county commissioners voted Tuesday afternoon on new fertilizer rules that will affect anyone with a yard.

Seminole county commission chambers were filled with some happy, clean water advocates after commissioners voted in favor of a fertilizer ordinance. The ordinance favors a statewide rule, but with changes specific to the county.

"We're going to teach people how to properly fertilize and when's the best time to fertilize, when not to fertilize, in order to try to protect our water bodies," said Kim Ornberg, division manager for Watershed Management and Public Works with Seminole County.

The main priority is to offer education on how to keep your lawn green while being environmentally wise.

The physical changes come into play between June 1 and Sept. 30. Between those months, you can't use fertilizer that contains certain elements.

"During that time in order to minimize the amount of leaching of nutrients, nitrogen phosphates getting into our rivers and streams we won't allow fertilizers to be applied to residential areas that contain them," Ornberg said.

Big lawn players like True Green and Scott's Miracle Grow were at the meeting. They agree with taking an environmentally safe approach but question the summer blackout dates.

For now, the ordinance stands, but that doesn't mean amendments aren't an option in the future.

The ordinance takes effect immediately. However, enforcement won't kick in until Oct. 1. Even so, county leaders said they are going to take more of an educational approach rather than immediately slapping offenders with a $50 fine.

Learn more about the ordinance »