Maintaining Clean Waterways Starts in Your Yard with Proper Lawn Fertilization
August 6, 2016 (Milwaukee) - August is National Water Quality Month and a good time for residents to take a fresh look at how they impact water quality and can help keep waterways clean. Understanding how fertilization impacts waterways is a one place to start.
MMSD, Milorganite: 90 Years of Environmental Stewardship
The Metropolitan Milwaukee Sewerage District (MMSD) has been a steward of the environment for 90 years—before we knew what that term meant. It also manufactures and markets Milorganite, an organic-nitrogen fertilizer.
Milorganite, manufactured since 1926, was a way to handle what remained of Milwaukee’s sewerage treatment process. To this day, recycled, nutrient-rich material is kiln dried into an environmentally safe fertilizer rather than shipping it to landfills. “Milorganite is a tangible, value-added byproduct of our commitment to the environment as it has been for nine decades,” said Jeff Spence, director of marketing for Milorganite.
“MMSD and the Milorganite team don’t pay lip service to being stewards of the environment just to sell product or demonstrate how great we are. It’s part of our DNA,” explained Spence. “The common thread through all of our business activities is to improve the environment, especially our waterways. Caring for the environment is a shared responsibility, from industries to individuals. What we do inside and outside of our homes impacts the environment.”
Nutrient Runoff a Global Problem
The United Nations and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) agree that nutrient runoff of nitrogen and phosphorus is the most widespread, costly and challenging water quality problem globally.
Although vital for plants, excess nitrogen and phosphorus contributes to algae blooms, fish kills, and objectionable odors and appearance in ponds, lakes and streams. Nitrogen in drinking water can be harmful to humans, even at low levels. According to the EPA one way to “significantly reduce the potential for pollution” from agriculture, a significant source of nutrient runoff, is to apply fertilizers “in the proper amount, at the right time of year and with the right method.” The same practices apply to homeowners.
Proper Fertilization Reduces Runoff and Helps Conserve Water
Phosphorus helps produce healthy lawns, which helps keep waterways clean by naturally filtering water, but not all phosphorus is created equal.
Research conducted by the University of Florida compared the Non Leaching Phosphorus to fertilizers with other sources of phosphorus. It demonstrated that the recycled form of phosphorus in Milorganite is more readily available to plants and significantly less likely to leach into waterways.
“The phosphorus in Milorganite is insoluble and released at a rate plants can use. Sound fertilization practices, including the use of the most environmentally friendly fertilizers available, is one way we can all help protect our waterways,” explained Spence. Milorganite complies with all federal and local phosphorus regulations.
Milorganite Safe in Drought-Stricken areas
Proper lawn fertilization encourages deeper, healthier root systems, which require less water, important for drought-stricken areas. “Milorganite’s phosphorus is only absorbed at the right moisture and temperature levels. It’s safe to use during drought.”
Milorganite doesn’t need to be watered in and won’t burn vegetation, because it lacks the salts found in most other fertilizers. Being predominantly organic matter, it also increases the water-holding capacity of soil.
April 4, 2016 (Milwaukee)—It’s fitting that Wisconsin, the origin of Earth Day, is home to the world’s longest-running and nation’s largest recycling program: Milorganite.
Earth Day, which began in 1970 at the prompting of then Wisconsin U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson, evokes images of volunteers clearing debris from shorelines, elementary school students planting trees, and communities collecting hazardous materials from homeowners to protect land and water. Earth Day was the birth of the modern environmental movement.
But how does Milorganite—a fertilizer—fit into Earth Day’s focus on environmental stewardship?
“I’m sure most people don’t think of fertilizer and environmental stewardship as being related. Actually, most would say they’re at odds with each other,” said Milorganite Director of Marketing, Jeff Spence. “But when you’re talking about Milorganite, they’re definitely related.” Read article
By Karen Hobbs Senior Policy Analyst at the Natural Resources Defense Council - October 29, 2013
Milorganite’s parent company, Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD), is leading the nation in Green solutions for water management. MMSD's green efforts began back in 1926 with the Milorganite program; recycling a nutrient rich byproduct into fertilizer. Over the past several decades Milwaukee has transformed its approach to storm water management, and continues to look to the future and green infrastructure is one piece of the multi-tiered approach. Read article
Milorganite BioPreferred® Certified - 85+ Years of Renewable Materials
September, 2012 (Milwaukee, WI) – Milorganite is now certified by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) as a biobased product because it is derived from 85% renewable materials.
The BioPreferred program qualifies products as biobased if they are “composed wholly or significantly of biological ingredients-renewable plant, animal, marine or forestry materials.” Fertilizers are tested for biobased content by a thirdparty lab and then deemed certified by the USDA.
The BioPreferred program goal is to increase the purchase of biobased products resulting in a reduction of petroleum consumption, increase the use of renewable resources, better manage the carbon cycle, and contribute to reducing adverse environmental and health impacts. Look for the certified biobased label to identify these products to help select products that reduce environmental impact and are proven to be more environmentally friendly. Read article
Milorganite Reaches 9 Billion Pounds - With 85 Years of Recycling
June, 2012 (Milwaukee, WI) – Trusted by professionals since 1926, the first pelletized fertilizer in the United States, Milorganite, can now add sales of 9 billion pounds to its success story. That’s enough Milorganite to:
• Wrap around the earth 3.8 times
• Fertilize 78 million lawns
• Lap the Daytona International Speedway 10,000 times
Created by Pioneers in Water Reclamation
Milorganite’s unique history began with Milwaukee’s goal to clean up its rivers and Lake Michigan. The city became the first in the country to use microscopic organisms, or bugs, to clean wastewater. In the early 1920’s agronomist and turf expert, O.J. Noer found that the available nitrogen in these bugs resembled high grade organic nitrogenous fertilizers and gave superior growth results compared to manures and chemical fertilizers of the time. Thus began the inception of Milorganite as the first pelletized N-P-K (Nitrogen-Phosphorous-Potassium) fertilizer marketed and sold in the United States. Read article