February 28, 2017


New proposed fertilizer changes could affect Seminole County residents

By Roy Ramos


SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. - A new proposal in Seminole County wants to change the way people take care of their lawns, to better protect the rivers and lakes they swim in.


Elizabeth St. Hillaire likes to paint Seminole County beauty from the dock at Wikiva Island, but she told Channel 9’s Steve Barrett that she’s not a fan of fertilizers that cloud the waters.

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“You know, how awesome do our lawns need to be at the expense of damaging the environment,” Hillaire said.

Hillaire told Eyewitness News that she’s thrilled to hear about new lawn fertilizing restrictions being considered Tuesday by the Seminole County Commission.


“I think everyone realizes that far too many pesticides and nitrates are going on our yards anyhow and we need to cut down,” said Don Philpott, with the Wikiva Wilderness Trust.


If approved, the rules would ban nitrates and phosphates in chemicals during the rainy season from June to September, and require at least 50 percent of fertilizer applications to be timed-release fertilizer.


Part of the ordinance that will effect neighborhoods will be a year-around ban on any spraying of fertilizer within 10 to 15 feet of waterways.


Mary Wienaug, the owner of Wikiva Island, has seen the damage the chemicals can do when they runoff into rivers and ponds.

“The waters were crystal clear and didn't have algae in them. Now they're getting suffocated, choked out by all the algae that's growing in them,” Wienaug said.


The new rules will be county-wide, but must be the subject of public hearings that begin Tuesday at the commission meeting.

Seminole county modeled its ordinance after Volusia and Brevard county rules. If the ordinance passes, county leaders expect city governments to follow suit with similar rules.