Ordinance # 2015-05, the Fertilizer Management Ordinance, fulfills requirements of Florida Statute 403.9337, requiring every community with impaired waters, as defined by the State, and the County’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit, to pass, at a minimum, the state model fertilizer ordinance.
The Ordinance has several important elements that have the potential to affect many residents and improve the quality of Osceola County's nationally recognized lakes and rivers. Some key aspects of the new Ordinance include, but not limited to:
- Applies to everyone applying fertilizer to turf grass
- Prohibits application of fertilizer during watches and warnings of approaching tropical storms and hurricanes
- Requires a minimum setback from lakes and wetlands when using spreaders (3 ft.) with deflector shields and a voluntary setback of 10 ft. when not using deflector shields
- Requires training and certification of professional per the UF/IFAS Green Industries Best Management Practices (GIBMP) program
- Education will be the focus of the program for the first year, then enforcement will be available
- Supplements Illicit Discharge Ordinance in requiring grass clippings and yard waste be kept out of the storm drain system
- It does exempt bona fide farm operations and scientific research activities
The GIBMP training program is specified in the ordinance and is taught by the UF/IFAS extension office several times per year. It is the same class taught by all UF/IFAS Extension Service offices in the State. Anyone can take the class anywhere in the State and meet the certification and training requirements specified in the ordinance. In addition, to the GIBMP class, general education on the importance of keeping nutrients, from all sources, out of our lakes and streams will be a key element of the Ordinance.
Osceola County staff will be conducting informational workshops and will make available programs to Homeowners Associations and service organizations, like the Rotary Club, Kiwanis, Lions and any entity desiring education about the ordinance and protecting the environment.