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Fertilizers and the Environment: Florida Suffers Under Toxic Nitrogen Fertilizer

Florida-based environmentalists are urging people to look out for potentially toxic nitrogen fertilizer leaking into storm water. The move comes following recent issues with nitrogen in water, which has been connected to red tide, the loss of sea grass and toxic algae that blooms on the east coast of the state. According to Leesa Souto, CEO of the Marine Resources Council in Palm Bay, nitrogen-based crop nutrients in storm water cause water quality issues.

Independent researchers, including Souto, did a research in which they were looking into how people responded to ordinances banning the use of nitrogen-based fertilizers during part of the year. The study found that the highest estimated fertilizer nitrogen inputs, the highest fertilizer frequency, the highest percentage of professionals responsible for landscape management, and the highest estimated annual total nitrogen loads of the communities studied in Pinellas, Manatee and Hillsborough were to be found in Hillsborough County community.

In Hillsborough County, people are discouraged to use nitrogen-based fertilizers during hurricanes, flood watches and other major rain events because it is when fertilizers tend to get washed into storm drains, thus polluting storm water. In the City of Tampa and in Pinellas County, people cannot purchase or use nitrogen-based fertilizers between 1 June and 30 September.

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