Illinois Officials Consider Enacting Phosphorus Ban

Officials in Mundelein, IL are considering enacting a ban on fertilizers containing phosphorus.

Officials in Mundelein, IL are considering enacting a ban on fertilizers containing phosphorus. In 2010 Illinois banned lawn care companies from using fertilizers with phosphorus on residential lawns. Since then phosphorus has been removed from many fertilizer products, but not all of them. If Mundelein does enact the ban, they will join a number of recent towns to also take action including Libertyville, Lindenhurst and Antioch.

Phosphorus is used in fertilizer, because it helps grass germinate and grow. Excess phosphorus can be washed from a lawn by rainwater or sprinklers and cause pollution by seeping into lakes, streams and other waterways. Waterways then become vulnerable to weeds and suffer deplete oxygen supplies needed for native life, experts have said.

Mundelein trustees and administrators discussed options for restricting the use of such chemicals during Monday night's village board meeting. A number of different options were presented, including banning the use locally as well as prohibiting the sale of phosphorus fertilizers in local stores. One trustee on the board, Dakotah Norton, suggested stores could require people buying fertilizer to show their driver's licenses at the register. Anyone with a Mundelein address could be turned away, he said.

The board rejected Norton’s idea, as well as limiting local stores from selling the fertalizers to people who live outside of Mundelein.

However, under the proposal that began developing Monday, stores would have to post signs on shelves saying fertilizers containing Phosphorus couldn't be used on lawns in Mundelein.

Local residents could still use fertilizers with Phosphorus on flowerbeds and vegetable gardens, officials said.

The board expects to have the rules drafted and ready to present by the board’s meeting on July 13.

Officials noted the rules really wouldn't be enforceable. Police officers won't test lawns for Phosphorus, Mayor Steve Lentz said. Lentz hopes the rules could bring attention to what he called "a big problem." He said he hopes state legislators take up the issue again and consider enacting stronger laws.

"That's really the only place that a solution for this can come from," Lentz said.