Potential Fertilizer Ban

The City Considers an Ordinance to Limit Fertilizer Pollution

January 2020

The idea was first presented to her by environmental advocacy group Miami Waterkeeper, says City Commissioner Pat Keon. The idea: an ordinance that would ban the use of fertilizers containing phosphorus or nitrogen from June through September.

“There are a number of other Florida municipalities that have enacted this, because it’s the rainy season. The ground is so saturated that very little of the fertilizer is absorbed by the grass or plants,” says Keon. What happens is that the fertilizers end up in storm water sewers, which in turn, have “outflows” in the Gables waterways and bayfront. Those spilloffs can lead to algae blooms and other bad things.

Keon says she ran the idea past Brook Dannemiller (in charge of maintaining the city’s green canopy) and Matt Anderson (head of sustainability for the city) as well as past several citizen advisory boards. The result: unanimous thumbs up. The ordinance was passed on first reading last month and is expected to pass a second and final reading this month.

The fines are yet to be established, says Keon, but “there will be a significant educational component before anyone gets cited.”