Code of the District of Columbia

Subchapter II-A. Anacostia River Clean Up and Protection Fertilizer Act.


§ 8–104.01. Short title.

This subchapter may be cited as the “Anacostia River Clean Up and Protection Fertilizer Act of 2012”.


(Apr. 20, 2013, D.C. Law 19-262, § 201, 60 DCR 1300.)


§ 8–104.02. Definitions.

For the purposes of this subchapter, the term:

(1) “Department” means the District Department of the Environment.

(2) “Enhanced efficiency fertilizer” means a fertilizer product with characteristics that allow increased plant uptake and reduces the potential of nutrient loss to the environment, such as gaseous loss, leaching, or runoff, when compared to an appropriate reference fertilizer product.

(3) “Fertilizer” means a material that contains one or more nutrients intended to promote plant growth.

(4) “Low phosphorus fertilizer” means a fertilizer containing no more than 5% of available phosphate (P2O5), and that has an application rate not to exceed 0.25 pound of available phosphate (P2O5)/1,000 square feet/application and 0.5 pound of available phosphate (P2O5)/1,000 square feet/year.

(5) “Organic fertilizer” means a material that:

(A) Is derived from either plant or animal products containing one or more elements that are essential for plant growth, other than carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen;

(B) May be subjected to biological degradation processes under normal conditions of aging, rainfall, sun-curing, air drying, composting, rotting, enzymatic, or anaerobic/aerobic bacterial action; and

(C) May not be mixed with synthetic materials or changed in a physical or chemical manner from their initial state, except by manipulation such as drying, cooking, chopping, grinding, shredding, hydrolysis, or pelleting.

(6) “Soil test” means a scientific measurement that determines the nutrient levels of soil.

(7) “Turf” means nonagricultural managed grasses, such as the grasses found at parks, recreation areas, golf courses, commercial locations, cemeteries, athletic fields, schools, universities, government grounds, residential lawns, and other similar nonagricultural managed grasses. The term “turf” does not include non-grass groundcovers, shrubs, trees, vegetable and flower gardens, and indoor applications such as greenhouses.

(8) “Waterbody” means a wetland, watercourse, river, stream, creek, storm water retention or detention basin, or other similar water resource.


(Apr. 20, 2013, D.C. Law 19-262, § 202, 60 DCR 1300.)


§ 8–104.03. Fertilizer application requirements.

(a) This section shall apply to individuals and entities who apply fertilizer for wages.

(b) Fertilizer may be applied only to turf:

(1) Beyond a 15-foot buffer area from a waterbody; provided, that fertilizer may be applied beyond a 10-foot buffer area if a drop spreader, rotary spreader with a deflector, or targeted spray liquid is used for the fertilizer application;

(2) When sufficient water is applied to the soil within 24 hours of application to immobilize the fertilizer and prevent fertilizer loss by runoff or when soil is sufficiently saturated to immobilize the fertilizer and prevent fertilizer loss by runoff;

(3) When a heavy rainfall is not occurring, and when soils are not saturated and the potential for fertilizer movement off-site exists;

(4) After March 1st and before November 15th in a calendar year;

(5) When the ground is not frozen; and (6) In an amount consistent with an annual recommended rate established by the Department.

(c) Fertilizer may not be applied to an impervious surface or be stored in a container on an impervious surface in a manner that would permit fertilizer runoff. Fertilizer that is inadvertently applied or leaked onto an impervious surface shall be returned for reuse to the target surface or to either its original or another appropriate container.

(d)(1) A fertilizer that contains phosphorus in an amount greater than 0.67% phosphate by weight may be applied to turf only according to paragraph (2) of this subsection.

(2) A low phosphorus fertilizer may be applied to turf if a soil test conducted within the previous 3 years indicates that the level of phosphorus in the soil is insufficient to establish, reestablish, repair, or support adequate turf growth; provided, that a fertilizer that contains phosphorous other than a low phosphorus fertilizer may be applied to turf if the soil test indicates that the level of phosphorus in the soil is insufficient to establish or reestablish turf. The application of fertilizer allowed under this paragraph shall not exceed the amount or rate of application of fertilizer recommended by the soil test, as determined by the Department.

(e)(1) A fertilizer containing nitrogen may be applied to turf only at an application rate of less than 0.7 pounds per 1,000 feet of water-soluble nitrogen, and at an application rate of less than 0.9 pounds per 1,000 square feet of total nitrogen.

(2) Notwithstanding paragraph (1) of this subsection, an enhanced efficiency fertilizer containing nitrogen that has a release rate of less than 0.7 pounds per 1,000 square feet of total nitrogen per month may be applied at an annual application rate of less than 2.5 pounds per 1,000 square feet of nitrogen. The annual total application rate may not exceed 80% of the annual recommended rate for total nitrogen, as established by the Department.

(3) A fertilizer containing nitrogen may be applied to turf only if the fertilizer is at least 20% slow release.


(Apr. 20, 2013, D.C. Law 19-262, § 203, 60 DCR 1300.)


§ 8–104.04. Fertilizer public education program.

(a) Within 180 days of April 20, 2013, a retail establishment that sells fertilizer for turf shall prominently display information prepared by the Department that references:

(1) The requirements of this subchapter;

(2) The effects of fertilizers on local waterbodies;

(3) A warning not to apply fertilizer:

(A) Within a 15-foot buffer area from a waterbody or a 10-foot buffer if a drop spreader, rotary spreader with a deflector, or targeted spray liquid is used;

(B) When insufficient water is applied to the soil within 24 hours of application to immobilize the fertilizer and prevent fertilizer loss by runoff;

(C) When a heavy rainfall is occurring, soils are saturated, and the potential for fertilizer movement off-site exists;

(D) Before March 1st or after November 15th in any calendar year;

(E) When the ground is frozen; or

(F) In an amount consistent with an annual recommended rate established by the Department; and

(4) The proper use of lawn care products to reduce pollution in the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.

(b) The Department shall develop a program of public education that shall include the dissemination of information regarding nutrient pollution, soil testing, proper interpretation of fertilizer label instructions, and the proper use and calibration of fertilizer application equipment, best management practices for fertilizer use in the urban landscape, the requirements of this subchapter, and the effects of fertilizers on the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.


(Apr. 20, 2013, D.C. Law 19-262, § 204, 60 DCR 1300.)


§ 8–104.05. Fertilizer labeling requirements.

(a) A fertilizer used on turf that is distributed or sold in the District shall include a legible label with at least the following information:

(1) The percentage of total nitrogen, including the percentage of other water soluble nitrogen and water insoluble nitrogen;

(2) The percentage of available phosphate;

(3) The percentage of soluble potash; and

(4)(A) The following statement:

“Do not apply near water, storm drains or drainage ditches. Do not apply if heavy rain is expected. Apply this product only to your lawn, and sweep any product that lands on the driveway, sidewalk, or street back onto your lawn.”; or

(B) The environmental hazard statement recommended by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for that product.

(b) The information required under subsection (a)(4) of this section shall be printed in a legible and conspicuous manner on at least one side of the container, or, if it does not appear on the face or display side of the container, it shall appear on the upper third of the side used.


(Apr. 20, 2013, D.C. Law 19-262, § 205, 60 DCR 1300.)


§ 8–104.06. Penalties.

(a) A violation of this subchapter shall be a civil infraction for purposes of Chapter 18 of Title 2 [§ 2-1801.01 et seq.] (“Civil Infractions Act”). Civil fines, civil fines, penalties, and fees may be imposed as sanctions for any infraction of the provisions of this subchapter, or the rules issued under authority of this subchapter, pursuant to the Civil Infractions Act. Adjudication of any infractions shall be pursuant to the Civil Infractions Act.

(b) A person or retail establishment who violates this subchapter, or a rule or regulation adopted pursuant to this subchapter, shall be subject to the following penalties:

(1) Violations shall be a class 4 infraction under the schedule of fines in section 3201 of Title 16 of the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations (16 DCMR § 3201), pursuant to the Civil Infractions Act.

(2) In lieu of a penalty, the Mayor may issue a written warning notice that a violation has occurred.

(c) The Department may charge reasonable fees to cover costs associated with the implementation of this subchapter.

(d) Revenues collected pursuant to this subchapter shall be deposited in the Anacostia River Clean Up and Protection Fund, established in subchapter I-A of this title [§ 8-102.01 et seq.].


(Apr. 20, 2013, D.C. Law 19-262, § 206, 60 DCR 1300.)


§ 8–104.07. Rules; enforcement.

The Mayor, pursuant to subchapter I of Chapter 5 of Title 2 [§ 2-501 et seq.], may issue rules to implement the provisions of this subchapter.


(Apr. 20, 2013, D.C. Law 19-262, § 207, 60 DCR 1300.)