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updated: 9/14/2015 8:12 PM

Mundelein restricts fertilizers with phosphorus

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If you live in Mundelein and like to keep your lawn extra green and lush with fertilizer treatments, check the ingredients on the bag before you take the spreader for a spin.

Because if phosphorous is on the list, you'll need to find a different product.

The village board Monday significantly restricted the use of fertilizer containing the controversial chemical agent.

Local residents still can use fertilizers with phosphorous on flower beds and vegetable gardens, as well as on bare patches of lawn that are being seeded. Golf courses and farms are exempt, too.

But for general lawn fertilization, phosphorous is out.

Mundelein joins Antioch, Gurnee, Libertyville and Lindenhurst among the suburbs that have limited residential use of fertilizers with phosphorous.

Phosphorus helps grass germinate and grow. But excess phosphorus can be washed from a lawn by rainwater or sprinklers and seep into lakes, streams and other waterways.

It can then make waterways vulnerable to weeds and deplete oxygen supplies needed for native life, experts have said.

As environmental experts, lawmakers and manufacturers have become more aware of the potential problem, phosphorous has been removed from many fertilizers -- but not all of them.

Illinois banned lawn care companies from using fertilizers with phosphorous on residential lawns in 2010. State law also limits the amount of phosphorous in cleaning agents, such as detergents.

Mundelein officials first debated the possible merits of a phosphorus ban in June. At that time, they opted against any kind of sales prohibition, saying they didn't want to keep local hardware or home-improvement stores from selling products to people who live outside the village.

But under the ordinance approved Monday, stores will have to post signs on shelves saying fertilizers containing phosphorous essentially can't be used on lawns in Mundelein.

The board approved the regulations without discussion or opposition Monday. Trustee Ray Semple was absent.