Daily News Archive
From April 22, 2002

Minnesota Gets Closer to Banning Phosphorous in Residential Lawn Fertilizer

The state of Minnesota is following the lead of Shorewood and Minneapolis in banning phosphorus in metro area lawn fertilizer. The bill overwhelmingly passed the House of Representatives and Senate and now waits signing by Governor Jesse Ventura.

Phosphorus, used in fertilizer for its ability to promote root growth and green foliage is a major source of pollution in lakes and rivers. The addition of phosphorus into an aquatic system promotes the growth of algae, which in turn provide a food source for oxygen depleting bacteria. This seasonal cycle of low oxygen concentrations kills fish and other organisms in large numbers.

The restrictions are limited to residential lawn fertilizers and would not affect garden fertilizers often containing higher concentrations of phosphorous. Rep. Dan Dorman, R-Albert Lea pointed out that with phosphorus rich fertilizers still available on the market there is "nothing to stop" people from still using phosphorus rich products.
Partial exceptions to the bill for lawn care professionals and golf courses mandate that soil be tested before phosphorus fertilizer application.

If signed the bill would not take effect until January of 2004.