Orange County Commissioners received a briefing on suggested revisions to the county’s fertilizer ordinance policy on Tuesday morning. The changes are being prompted by “Springs and Aquifer Protection Act” passed at the state level requiring the municipalities to take steps to avoid further damages to their region’s water supply.
Some of the suggested changes include an increase in the amount of distance needed for fertilizer applications from bodies of water, soil testing for any fertilizer applications involving phosphorus, and a summertime phosphorus blackout period.
The debate brought out both advocates and opponents to the revisions from all over the state with Environmentalists pushing for a strong ordinance that includes a complete blackout of phosphorus fertilizer during the summer and businesses looking for corporate exemptions from any new policies.
A discussion with stakeholders indicated that neighboring Seminole County’s ordinances garneed support from both groups but the summertime blackout period included in their agreement has left the two sides at an impasse.
No vote was taken after the presentation. Orange County Soil and Water Supervisor Eric Rollings provided public comment during the meeting and believes education plays a major role in the discussion.
“It’s my belief that if we’re going to educate Central Florida and we’ve got a different ordinances in Orange, Lake, and Seminole, it’s going to make it much more difficult.” said Rollings “We just want to make it so it’s all the same.”
The next step will be a public hearing scheduled to take place on June 20th. A new ordinance must be in place by July 1st to be in compliance with the statewide law.