DEP MARKS EARTH WEEK BY TAKING STEPS TO REDUCE IMPACTS
OF PHOSPHORUS ON WATERWAYS
(08/26) TRENTON - The Department of Environmental
Protection is taking significant steps toward improving the health
of New Jersey’s lakes, rivers and streams by reducing the
impacts of phosphorus, a nutrient that degrades water quality,
Commissioner Lisa P. Jackson announced today in marking Earth Week
to decades of hard work and strong laws, our waterways have come
a long way since the first Earth Day in 1970, but runoff pollution
remains a threat to the overall ecological health of our lakes,
rivers and streams,” Commissioner Jackson said. “These
measures, including a pledge by the fertilizer industry to reduce
or eliminate phosphorus in lawn-care products, place New Jersey
among the nation’s leaders in combating this type of pollution.”
an Earth Week event at a West Windsor home-improvement center,
Commissioner Jackson signed a memorandum of understanding with
members of the lawn-care industry, who pledged to reduce the amount
of phosphorus released by fertilizers in the Garden State by 50
percent by 2010.
The industry will make fertilizers available to
retail centers that have no phosphorus or reduced amounts of phosphorus.
The industry will conduct public education programs on proper use
of fertilizers and will label products accordingly.
Jackson also formally signed off on science-based standards that
will greatly reduce phosphorus discharged as wastewater and stormwater
in two heavily developed watersheds in northeastern New Jersey.
such as phosphorus are essential to plants and animals, but too
much fosters excessive algae growth, impairing water quality, diminishing
recreational experiences, making treatment of drinking water more
costly, and depriving water of dissolved oxygen that fish and other
aquatic life need.
Algae growth has been problematic in the highly
developed Passaic River and Pompton Lake-Ramapo River watersheds
of northeastern New Jersey.
The DEP formally adopted water-quality
criteria for this basin based on the amount of phosphorus the river
systems can naturally assimilate. The criteria, known as total
maximum daily loads, affect more than 50 sewage treatment plants.
signing the memorandum of agreement, members of the Lawn Care Product
Manufacturing Industry, including Lebanon Seaboard and United Industries,
agreed to establish technical groups to work with the DEP and Rutgers
University’s Agricultural Experiment
Station in developing a stewardship program to foster better public
education and to review strategies to reduce the levels of phosphorus