second year of blue-green algae blooms in Ramsey Lake (2008 and 2010), there is growing concern
about how algae might affect our drinking water and whether we will be able to
enjoy Ramsey Lake like we have in the past. Algae produce toxins that have made
the lake unsafe for swimming for part of this summer. Phosphorus is an
essential nutrient for algae growth. Studies have shown that up to 50% of the
phosphorus in stormwater runoff is from lawn application of fertilizer and many
lawns and streets in Sudbury including 2nd Ave., Bancroft, Kingsway
and Paris drain directly and untreated into Ramsey Lake.
Other jurisdictions such as
Manitoba, Maine, New York, Florida, Minnesota and New Jersey have had blue-green algae concerns and have been proactive by implementing a restriction on
fertilizers that contain phosphorus. This means consumers use fertilizer
labeled with a 0 in the middle indicating no phosphorus such as 30-0-10. This
fertilizer costs the same as other fertilizers, is readily available in local
stores and is usually all that is needed for an established lawn. On April 1, 2012, the City of Greater Sudbury enacted a bylaw to restrict lawn fertilizers containing phosphorus. Look for the zero in the middle.
Please use phosphorus-free fertilizer, look for the zero in the middle. Establishing
a natural shoreline buffer also prevents pollutants from reaching our
drinking water source. Other
ways we can prevent phosphorus from entering our watershed include washing our cars at a commercial carwash
instead of on our driveways, and if you have a septic system, maintaining your septic systems. Pick up after your dog and don't sweep dirt and grass into sewers.
We all need to play a part in keeping phosphorus levels low around Ramsay Lake
so it will be healthy for many years to come.