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Nutrient Runoff Law - ECL Article 17, Title 21

Effective January 1, 2012

Disclaimer:
The law below is presented as a quick reference tool. While it is believed to be accurate, it is not a certified copy of the law and therefore should not be relied upon for legal interpretation. The law as printed by Lawyers Cooperative Publishing, will continue to be the official source for legal purposes.

Section 17-2101. Definitions.
Section 17-2103. Sale or use of phosphorus fertilizer restricted.
Section 17-2105. Local fertilizer regulation.

* § 17-2101. Definitions.

As used in this title:

  1. "Compost" means the biologically stable humus-like material derived from composting or the aerobic, thermophilic decomposition of organic matter.
  2. "Fertilizer" means the same as "specialty fertilizer" as defined in section one hundred forty-three of the agriculture and markets law.
  3. "Lawn" or "non-agricultural turf" means any non-crop land area that is covered by any grass species. Lawn or non-agricultural turf does not mean flower or vegetable gardens, pasture, hayland, trees, shrubs, turf grown on turf farms, or any form of agricultural production.
  4. "Phosphorus fertilizer" means fertilizer in which the available phosphate (P205) content is greater than 0.67 percent by weight, excluding compost.
    * NB Effective January 1, 2012

* § 17-2103. Sale or use of phosphorus fertilizer restricted.

  1. No person shall apply or authorize any person by way of service contract or other arrangement to apply in this state any phosphorus fertilizer on lawn or non-agricultural turf, except when:
    1. A soil test indicates that additional phosphorus is needed for growth of that lawn or non-agricultural turf; or
    2. The phosphorus fertilizer is used for newly established lawn or non-agricultural turf during the first growing season.
  2. Any retailer selling or offering for sale phosphorus fertilizer for use on lawn or non-agricultural turf shall comply with the retail sale requirements in section one hundred forty-six-g of the agriculture and markets law related to display of phosphorus fertilizer and the posting of educational signs.
  3. No person shall apply fertilizer to:
    1. lawn or non-agricultural turf between December first and April first, annually;
    2. any impervious surface including parking lots, roadways, and sidewalks. If such application occurs, the fertilizer must be immediately contained and either legally applied to lawn or non-agricultural turf or placed in an appropriate container; or
    3. any lawn or non-agricultural turf on any real property within twenty feet of any surface water, except that this restriction shall not apply where a continuous natural vegetative buffer, at least ten feet wide, separates an area of lawn or non-agricultural turf and surface water, and except that, where a spreader guard, deflector shield or drop spreader is used to apply fertilizer, such application may not occur within three feet of any surface water. This paragraph shall not apply to an application of fertilizer for newly established lawn or non-agricultural turf during the first growing season.
  4. Nothing in this title shall impair or supersede the authority of the commissioner of agriculture and markets pursuant to articles ten and twenty-five-AA of the agriculture and markets law.
    * NB Effective January 1, 2012

* § 17-2105. Local fertilizer regulation.

A local government may enact more stringent standards for the application of fertilizer for lawn and non-agricultural turf than established in this title, provided, however, that any local government that enacts such standards after January 1, 2011 must demonstrate to the department prior to enactment that additional or more stringent standards are necessary to address local water quality conditions.
* NB Effective January 1, 2012

The Environmental Conservation Law is amended by adding a new section to 71-1945 (Enforcement) to read as follows:

* § 71-1945. Enforcement of title 21 of article 17.

  1. Except as otherwise provided in this section, any person who violates any provision of title 21 of article 17 of this chapter or any rule, regulation or order issued thereunder shall be liable to the people of the state for a civil penalty not to exceed five hundred dollars for a first violation, and not to exceed one thousand dollars for each subsequent violation, to be assessed by the commissioner after a hearing or opportunity to be heard.
  2. Any owner or owner's agent, or occupant of a household who violates any provision of title 21 of article 17 of this chapter or any rule, regulation or order issued thereunder shall, for a first violation be issued a written warning and be provided educational materials. Upon a second violation, the owner or owner's agent, or occupant of a household shall be liable to the people of the state for a civil penalty not to exceed one hundred dollars, and for any subsequent violations shall be liable to the people of the state for a civil penalty not to exceed two hundred fifty dollars. No owner or owner's agent of a household shall be held liable for any violation by an occupant. Such penalties may be assessed by the commissioner after a hearing or opportunity to be heard.
    * NB Effective January 1, 2012

The title heading of Title 19 of Article 71 of the Environmental Conservation Law, as amended by chapter 400 of the laws of 1973, is amended to read as follows:

ENFORCEMENT OF TITLES 1 THROUGH 11 AND 15 THROUGH 21 INCLUSIVE OF ARTICLE 17 AND SPILLS OF BULK LIQUIDS

The Agriculture and Markets Law is amended by adding a new section 146-g to read as follows:

§ 146-g. Retail sale.

Any retailer who sells or offers for sale to consumers specialty fertilizer in which the available phosphate (P205) content is greater than 0.67 percent, shall:

  1. display such phosphorus-containing specialty fertilizer separately from non-phosphorus specialty fertilizer; and post in the location where phosphorus-containing specialty fertilizer is displayed a clearly visible sign which is at least eight and one-half inches by eleven inches in size and states that: "Phosphorus runoff poses a threat to water quality. Therefore, under New York law, phosphorus-containing fertilizer may only be applied to lawn or non-agricultural turf when:
    1. A soil test indicates that additional phosphorus is needed for growth of that lawn or non-agricultural turf; or
    2. The fertilizer is used for newly established lawn or non-agricultural turf during the first growing season."

This act shall take effect on the thirtieth day after it shall have become a law, provided, however, that:

persons may continue to use phosphorus fertilizer on lawn and Nonagricultural turf after January 1, 2012, if the fertilizer was purchased prior to such effective date.


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