The Orchard Lake City Council unanimously approved the first reading of an amended fertilizer ordinance on Monday, Nov. 19, in an effort to align the city’s rules with a state law enacted Jan. 1, 2012.
Prior to the state law’s passage, the city had an ordinance on the books which was grandfathered into compliance under a provision of the new law; yet since the city’s fertilizer ordinance was written in 1991, it was in need of some revisions.
The council approved the first reading of the ordinance after tweaking a few housekeeping items.
“Council reviewed the ordinance in its entirety and suggested minor issues to be clarified,” said Dr. Leon Pedell, who helped to draft the proposal.
If the ordinance passes on second reading, phosphorous fertilizers will be banned from use in the city, except in certain situations. Otherwise, only slow-release nitrogen fertilizer in pellet form will be permitted. “The intent of the new ordinance is to ensure that slow-release nitrogen is used and to exclude phosphorous from any lawn fertilizers, except under special conditions,” Pedell said.
There will be penalties for failure to comply. These penalties will apply to both commercial applicators and homeowners.
The ordinance calls for fertilizer spilled on an impervious surface (such as a street, sidewalk, or parking lot) to be promptly cleaned up; and prohibits applying fertilizer to turf when the soil is frozen or saturated with water.
To adhere to the guidelines, residents must not allow lawn fertilizer in a liquid form to be sprayed onto a residential lawn, and make sure the second number on the fertilizer’s three-number rating (representing phosphorus) is always zero (the first number is nitrogen content and the third number is potassium content).
For lakefront homes, fertilizer must never be applied within 35 feet of the water.
A second reading and potential final adoption of the ordinance is scheduled for the Dec. 17 City Council meeting.