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Montgomery Promotes Healthy Lawns While also Protecting Local Waterways

Preventing water pollution from entering storm drains and waterways is everyone’s responsibility.

Lawn chemicals are often washed down the drain into our local waterways — killing wildlife, polluting our water sources, and harming native plants.

Home and business owners can make a big difference to our environment simply by being more informed, and talking to their lawn services/landscapers to maintain healthy lawns while also protecting our streams and drinking water. These tips can even save money:

  • Choose a no phosphorus and slow-release nitrogen fertilizer. Check the first and second number on the package for nitrogen and phosphate content. Formula 26-0-3, for example, means no phosphate.

  • Apply fertilizer at the spreader setting shown on the bag, to avoid overuse or underuse of product.

  • Return any unused product to the original container for future use.

  • Do not apply fertilizer products if a heavy rain is predicted.

  • Use a drop spreader or a rotary spreader with a side guard to keep fertilizer on the lawn and off driveways, roadways and walkways.

  • Sweep up excess fertilizer from paved surfaces.

  • Pick up pet waste and dispose of it properly.

New Jersey towns work under the state’s stormwater management program, overseen by the NJ Department of Environmental Protection, to combat what is known as ‘non-point source’ pollution, whether from litter, motor oil, fertilizers, or pet waste.

This type of pollution comes from many sources, usually crossing over land during rain to enter storm drains, then rivers and streams. It is therefore more difficult to track. While point-source pollution originates with a single, identifiable source, one common culprit is fertilizer, used on lawns and gardens.

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Fertilizers are a particularly preventable pollution type. If properly applied and absorbed into the land areas where they are placed, fertilizers can do their job and do not become a pollutant at all. Their efficient use also cuts waste and saves the user money, whether a landscaper, farmer, or homeowner.

Avoiding the accidental overuse or misuse of fertilizers can keep our streams healthier and prevent the destruction of microorganisms, fish, frogs, turtles, and other creatures living in our streams and other surface waterways.

For a healthier, greener lawn, fertilize after the first lawn cutting in the spring and again in the fall when weather conditions are best for grass to absorb nutrients.

Soil testing can help identify what nutrients your lawn needs. Contact your County Extension Agent at for details and other helpful lawn and garden information.

For more information and other ways to prevent stormwater pollution, visit:

Montgomery Township's preventative or corrective municipal actions include labeling storm drains, sweeping streets, and educating the public and landscapers.

Homeowners should have a talk with their landscapers to see what can be done to minimize pollution.

Montgomery has its own ‘Stormwater Pollution Prevention Team’ working on this issue.

If you see Stormwater Pollution happening, please call the Montgomery Township Stormwater Pollution Prevention Hotline at 908.281.6525. ■


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