June 14, 2010 08:48 AM

The Suffolk County Water Authority (SCWA) would like to remind residents that the activities of the average homeowner could have an impact on our water supply, now, and into the future. Pesticides and fertilizers, when improperly used, can leach into the ground and endanger our aquifers.

“Proper knowledge is always the first, and most important step when trying to prevent contamination of our aquifer,” stated SCWA Chairman James Gaughran.

In an effort to help protect groundwater supplies, Suffolk County Water Authority would like to offer tips on the proper use of lawn chemicals and fertilizers. These include:

• Always keeping chemicals in well-ventilated locations that are cool and dry;
• Pesticides and fertilizer must be sealed in leak proof containers that are clearly labeled with the original label;
• It is imperative that spills be quickly contained and cleaned up;
• Homeowners should always apply the minimum amount of pesticides and fertilizers in accordance with the manufacturer’s label instructions. Buying the proper amount of chemicals to complete the specific job will minimize the amount that needs to be stored or disposed of later on.
• And, remember… More is not always better. Using more chemicals than what is necessary will cause more harm to the environment than good for your plantings. A homeowner should always use common sense and become familiar with the chemical product to determine the impact of use, and whether it is really needed in the first place.
• Organic products, now widely available in Suffolk County, make for a great alternative to using harmful chemical products. Cottonseed meal, bone meal and manure are examples of organic fertilizers. Consumers should also choose biodegradable insecticides and fungicides. These biodegradable chemicals break down into harmless substances in 2 to 21 days depending upon chemical composition.

“Asking the question ‘is the product suitable for the application?’ and always following the label directions for use and disposal is an absolute must,” said SCWA CEO Jeffrey Szabo. “Homeowners should always look for alternative ‘non’ or less hazardous products for performing the job.”

Homeowners can play an important significant role in the protection of our groundwater supply by employing simple common sense measures, and safely using all fertilizers and lawn chemicals.


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