We need local fertilizer rules
The Florida Federation of Garden Clubs' major focus is clean water for Florida. We adopted a Clean Water Position Statement and almost all 12 of our districts have adopted impaired bodies of water in hopes of improving the water quality by practicing Florida-friendly landscape principles. We plan to change the way we garden to try to reduce the amount of nutrients in our stormwater runoff.
More than 50 of our members went to the Florida Legislature to talk about bills to prohibit local governments from regulating fertilizer use by adopting more stringent ordinances than the state model ordinance. We felt, as did many, that the local authorities know best when it comes to the need for more stringent regulations regarding the usage of fertilizers with nitrogen and phosphorus during the rainy summer months. Once the nitrogen is in the water and promotes the growth of water-polluting algae, it is very expensive to remove from the water. The city of Tampa, along with the Department of Environmental Protection and Southwest Florida Water Management District has a $2.5 million project to remove 696 pounds of nitrogen from runoff in Sulphur Springs by diverting it to a stormwater treatment pond. It would be far less costly to prevent the use of the nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizer during the rainy summer months.
The Legislature passed a bill giving the state the authority to regulate fertilizer sales and usage in Florida. Any local governments that want their own regulations must have an approved ordinance on the books by July 1. I know that is just a month away, but I'd like to propose that Pasco County draw up its own fertilizer ordinance that would prohibit the use and sale of fertilizer with nitrogen and phosphorus during the four summer rainy months of June through September.
In order to get the ordinance on the books, we would need to move with utmost haste.
Tampa is considering adopting a more stringent fertilizer ordinance, and St. Petersburg and Pinellas County already have their ordinances in place. It seems that we could adopt something very similar to the ordinances that they have adopted. At the present time there are more than 47 local ordinances that are more stringent than the state.
It seems that it would be wise for Pasco County to adopt a more stringent fertilizer ordinance. This would protect our lakes, streams and rivers from additional pollution. There are many impaired water bodies in the Tampa Bay area. By passing this ordinance, we would have cleaner water and avoid the high cost of extracting the nitrogen at a later date. We would also have cleaner water for our drinking water, for our fishing and agriculture industries and for our recreation. Our visitors will not continue to come to our area if we do not protect our water.
Pat Carver, Dade City
Reminders of what we've lost | May 29 guest column
A sobering look at cost of war
This beautifully written letter could not have been better penned by Ernie Pyle, the World War II journalist who brought the cost of war home to America through his magnificently written columns.
Ernie, called the soldier's soldier, tragically died while covering the war, himself a casualty of the conflict.
Ryan's letter to his children is a sober reminder of the cost of war and a testimony to those who sacrificed so much for this great nation.
Marc J. Yacht, Hudson
Aqua's water not worth its price
I am very disappointed that Aqua Utilities was able to raise its rates even a little bit. The water isn't worth it.
I'm sorry I got rid of my white car or I could have used it as an example. I used to wash it at home until I noticed one day (where I didn't wipe it real dry) that it looked like blood coming from around the trunk area. It got so orange from the water residue and it would not come out even with rubbing compound.
Now the bill will be $100 a month instead of $79. I don't know why it has to be so high when our close neighbors who don't use Aqua are only paying $40 monthly.
Donna Herrick, Port Richey