October 21, 2009 THE VILLADOM TIMES I • Page 13 Franklin Lakes Residents must abide by new fertilizer ordinance by Frank J. McMahon A new ordinance adopted by the Franklin Lakes Borough Council will require residents, their landscapers and other firms or political units, to abide by certain prohibitions relating to the application of fertilizer. The regulations in the new ordinance, which do not apply to the application of fertilizer on commercial farms, prohibit anyone from applying fertilizer when a runoff producing rainfall is occurring or predicted, and/or when soils are saturated and a potential exists for fertilizer to move off-site. The measure prohibits applying fertilizer to an impervious surface and not removing it from that surface or returning it to either its original or another appropriate container for reuse. In addition, it prohibits applying fertilizer within the buffer of any water body or more than 15 days prior to the start of, or at any time after the end of, the recognized growing season for this area, which is March 1 to Nov. 1, according to the United States Department of Agriculture. The application of phosphorus fertilizer in outdoor areas is also prohibited, unless it is demonstrated to be necessary for the specific soils and certain vegetation in accordance with a soils test and the associated annual fertilizer recommendation issued by Rutgers Cooperative Research and Extension. Exceptions also include the application of phosphorus fertilizer needed to establish vegetation for the first time, such as after land disturbance, provided the application is in accordance with the requirements established under the state’s Soil Erosion and Sediment Control Act; the application of phosphorus fertilizer to re-established or when repairing a turf area; the application of phosphorus fertilizer that delivers liquid or granular fertilizer under the soils surface directly to the feeder roots; and the application of phosphorus fertilizer to residential container plantings, flowerbeds, or vegetable gardens. The ordinance was mandated by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and all municipalities in the state must adopt such an ordinance regulating the application of fertilizer as part of their municipal storm water permits. The intent is to regulate the outdoor application of fertilizer to reduce the overall amount of excess nutrients entering the 20 lakes, streams and ponds in the borough, as listed in the borough’s environmental resource inventory. According to the ordinance, the borough relies heavily on privately and publicly sourced well water for its drinking supply and, therefore, it benefits the municipality to protect its natural resources. Fertilizer is defined as a substance containing one or more recognized nutrients designed to promote plant growth. The ordinance explains that elevated levels of nutrients in surface water bodies, particularly phosphorus, can result in excessive, accelerated growth of algae and aquatic plants, which can be detrimental to aquatic life. As algae and plant materials die, the ordinance explains, the decay creates a further demand on dissolved oxygen levels and the presence of excessive plant matter can restrict the use of the affected water for recreation and water supply. The ordinance further explains that while healthy vegetated areas protect water quality by stabilizing soil and filtering precipitation, when fertilizers are applied to the land surface improperly, or in excess of the needs of the vegetation, nutrients can be transported by storm water to nearby waterways, contributing to the problematic growth of excessive aquatic vegetation. The ordinance states that most soils in New Jersey contain sufficient amounts of phosphorus to support adequate root growth for established turf and, while over time it is necessary to replenish available phosphorus, it is generally not necessary at the levels commonly applied, although other vegetation, such as vegetable gardens and agricultural and horticultural plantings, will have a greater need for phosphorus application as will the repair or establishment of new lawns or cover vegetation. The ordinance recommends a soils test by an accredited soil testing laboratory and a fertilizer application geared to the type of soil tested as the best means to determine the amount of nutrients to apply. The police department or zoning officer and the construction official will be responsible for enforcing the ordinance. Any person found to be in violation of the provisions of the ordinance will be subject to a fine not to exceed $1,000. A traditional rug hooking class will be offered at Franklin Lakes Public Library on Thursday, Nov. 5 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Gail Dufresne, an artist and exhibitor, will demonstrate and guide participants in a rug hooking project with one-on-one guidance. Class size is limited. All Rug hooking class offered at library materials for the project are provided free of charge. Nonresidents will be put on a waiting list and given access to the class on a space available basis after Sunday, Nov. 1. Registration begins Oct. 26 at the library, which is located on DeKorte Drive. Call (201) 891-2224. 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