MAYVILLE - The issue of phosphorus-containing fertilizer will return to the County Legislature this month.
On the agenda for Wednesday's meeting is a proposal to bring the county's fertilizer law closer in line with state regulations.
Back in 2009, the issue of limiting the sale of phosphorus-containing fertilizer locally was debated by county lawmakers.
Minority Leader Rudy Mueller, D-Lakewood, sponsored the local law at the time, which sought to prohibit the use of such fertilizers county-wide in order to keep the phosphorus from reaching waterways and lakes.
Mueller is again sponsoring the new local law, which this time seeks to amend the law passed in 2009.
"It's kind of backing it up a little bit," Mueller told The Post-Journal recently. "It's bringing it in line with state law."
Mueller's proposal passed both the Human Services Committee and the Planning and Economic Development Committee on Wednesday.
After the county passed its regulations, the state passed its own rules regarding phosphorus-containing fertilizer. In July of 2010, legislation reached Gov. Andrew Cuomo's desk regarding limiting the use of phosphorus in lawn fertilizer among other items.
According to Mueller, while the county's rules call for phosphorus-containing fertilizers to be kept in the back rooms of stores, the state's regulations allow them on the floor - though a sign is required explaining the difference.
In specific, the amendment proposed by Mueller will bring the county's local law into accordance with Section 146-g of the New York State Agriculture and Markets Law.
With so many states imposing similar such rules, Mueller said that the industry itself is now changing the ways in which it puts out fertilizers.
Fertilizer manufacturers are starting to make more products with lower phosphorus levels as well as some that are completely free of phosphorus, Mueller said.
"Phosphate-containing fertilizers are a lot more expensive," Mueller said. "People should know that so that they don't buy a more expensive fertilizer that's unnecessary. People should only buy phosphate-containing fertilizers for new turf or if their soil is tested and shown to need the phosphorus.
"That's the whole point of this," Mueller concluded. "You only should be buying it if you need it, otherwise you're wasting money and you're putting phosphates into the lake that makes the algae and the weeds grow more."
The Chautauqua County Legislature will meet at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday on the third floor of the Gerace Office Building in Mayville.