The Norman Transcript

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April 8, 2013

Time for water conservation to become a habit

(Continued)

NORMAN —

Toilets account for about 30 percent of all indoor use and can use up to seven gallons of water per flush. Water-sense toilets save several gallons of water per flush, but a brick or rock to displace water in an old tank is a simple fix.

Ward also talked about using a shower bucket. You fill the bucket while waiting for the shower to get hot.

“It honestly doesn’t take that much time and effort to do those things,” Ward said.

In regard to the city’s new fertilizer ordinance, City Engineer Scott Sturtz said the ordinance resulted in part from information and ideas obtained during the Stormwater Master Plan.

“The water-quality problems have been identified for years,” Sturtz said.

Studies have looked at what’s going on with Lake Thunderbird, which is listed as an impaired body of water. The fertilizer ordinance is only one part of the entire plan of attack to improve the quality of the lake’s water.

“The reason we’re worried about the phosphorus is it encourages algae to grow,” Sturtz said. “Norman is not the only contributing municipality to this watershed. We are about half.”

Oklahoma City and Moore also have a strong impact.

Norman’s ordinance is not a phosphorus ban but a fertilizer control ordinance, Sturtz said. “We’re not saying you can’t use fertilizers.”

The city looked at sample ordinances that worked well in other places.

Phosphorus fertilizer use is restricted, and educational information will be distributed to the public.

“Studies found that phosphorus is beneficial in the first few months,” Sturtz said. However, once a yard is established, phosphorus is not beneficial. If soil tests low in phosphorus, it will be allowed. Application also is restricted prior to rain, and it must be properly stored.

Blowing yard debris such as leaves and grass clippings into stormwater drains also is prohibited. In addition to clogging up the system, this creates phosphorus loading in the stormwater running to the lake.

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