When Nutrients Aren't Good for You!

county of san diego watershed protection program

When Nutrients Aren’t Good for You!

Hand Touching the Water List Serv Post 1-29-20

Nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorous are needed for all plants and animals to grow. But did you know that those nutrients can also be harmful? When too much nitrogen and phosphorous enter the environment, the air and water can become polluted. This impacts our local waterways and can harm our environment, water quality, and even our own health.

Many of the contributors to nutrient pollution come from activities occurring ‘in and around’ our homes such as over-fertilizing lawns and gardens, not picking up pet waste, or using certain types of cleaning detergents. Excess levels of nitrogen and phosphorous from lawn fertilizer, pet waste, and runoff from roads and houses, can turn waters green with algae, contaminate drinking water, and pollute waters for swimming and fishing.

What Can You Do?

We can all take action to reduce nutrient pollution through the choices we make around our homes. Here are a few simple things you can do.

  • Fertilize Appropriately – Fertilizers contain nitrogen and phosphorous which can contribute to pollution if used incorrectly. Take care to closely follow package instructions and avoid applying before windy or rainy days.
  • Manage Pet Waste – Pet waste contributes nitrogen, phosphorus, parasites, and bacteria to water bodies when it is not disposed of properly. This can lead to conditions in our local waterways that are unsafe for human recreation. Pick up and properly dispose of pet waste. Click here  for January’s Email List Serve tips on Pet Waste Management.
  • Prevent Nutrient Pollution Runoff – Roadside storm drains may lead directly to local waterways, so anything that flows into them is not treated, including fertilizers and pet waste. Additional nutrient pollutants include laundry, dish and car wash soaps that contain a form of phosphorous called phosphates. Switch to phosphate-free detergents and soaps.

For additional information on nutrient pollution impact and prevention, click here.

Car Washing LP 1-29-20


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