Plainview Water District Encourages Residents to Remain Mindful When Purchasing Fertilizer

District Urges Residents to Opt for Organic or Non-toxic Fertilizing Options

The Plainview Water District (PWD) encourages residents to be conscientious when selecting and utilizing fertilizer products for their lawns. Amidst the abundance of choices available, it is important to identify fertilizers suitable for individual properties and vegetation, while adhering to the guidelines outlined in the NYS Nutrient Run-off law. By taking these measures, not only can homeowners maintain lush lawns, but they also contribute to the preservation of our environment and protection of shared water sources.

“It’s crucial to keep in mind that household products containing harmful chemicals can gradually affect the environment over time,” said PWD Commissioner Marc Laykind. “By reducing our personal use of these harmful lawn fertilizers, we are each taking proactive steps to protect our shared ecosystem and mitigate potential water pollution.”

Correct application of fertilizers is necessary to prevent the runoff of additional chemicals or toxins that could contaminate water sources. When fertilizers are not used properly, they can wash away with rain or irrigation water, seeping into rivers, lakes, and groundwater, posing risks to aquatic ecosystems and overall health. By following recommended guidelines for fertilizer application, such as timing, dosage, and placement, homeowners can significantly reduce the likelihood of water pollution. Responsible fertilizer use not only promotes healthy plant growth but also helps the quality of our waterways, ensuring a sustainable environment for current and future generations.

Recognizing the crucial link between lawn fertilizers and water pollution, these restrictions were put in place by the State of New York and aimed at reducing the harmful impacts of excess nutrients on water bodies across New York. Excessive use of fertilizers containing phosphorus and nitrogen has been identified as a leading cause of water contamination, contributing to algal blooms and ecosystem degradation.

Under the NYS regulations, the sale and use of lawn fertilizers containing phosphorus are strictly prohibited, except in cases of new lawn establishment or soil testing indicating a need for phosphorus. Nitrogen content in fertilizers are limited to ensure responsible application and prevent nutrient runoff into waterways.

Organic fertilizers—such as cotton seed meal, bone meal and manure—are other examples of effective alternatives to typical fertilizers that can benefit the environment. Biodegradable insecticides that break down to harmless substances in 2-to-21 days are also another effective yet safe way to treat your lawn, while protecting the aquifer.

To remain in-compliance with the NYS Nutrient Run-off Law, DO NOT do the following:

  • Use lawn fertilizer that contains phosphorus unless you are establishing a new lawn, or a soil test shows that your lawn does not have enough phosphorus.
  • Apply any lawn fertilizer between December 1 – April 1.
  • Apply fertilizer on sidewalks, driveways or other impervious surfaces. If fertilizer spills onto these surfaces, you MUST sweep it up to prevent it from washing into drains or waterways. Do not hose if off.
  • Apply lawn fertilizer within 20 feet of any water body unless…
    • There is at least a 10-foot buffer of shrubs, trees or other plants between the area you are fertilizing and the water.
      • OR
    • Fertilizer can be applied no closer than 3 feet from the water using a device with a spreader guard, deflector shield or drop spreader.

If residents have questions they are encouraged to visit the Plainview Water District’s website,, email or call 516-931-6469.