Barnstable Warns of Fertilizer Threat to Ecosystem
July 19, 2021
WEST BARNSTABLE – Barnstable Town Manager Mark Ells recently released a reminder to residents to be mindful of the fragile ecosystem on Cape Cod and how they could affect it.
With recently reported cases of cyanobacteria, officials wish to remind residents that the bacteria can occur in any number of ways.
Chemicals in fertilizer can upset the natural balance of bodies of water if the fertilizer is placed carelessly or if rain causes runoff.
Though cyanobacteria outbreaks can also occur naturally, being mindful of the chemicals in fertilizer is important in stopping unnatural bacteria outbreaks.
Phosphorous can be damaging to freshwater systems while nitrogen can upset saltwater systems.
Barnstable tests water sources where bacteria outbreaks could occur every other week during the relevant seasons.
“Very often, as we move into the warm months, we’ll see that a beach is closed, and what we do is we regularly sample all of our bathing beaches in town so that we know whether there is any public health concerns,” said Ells in the recent update.
Some outbreaks clear up naturally within a day while others can take longer to clear up.
In cases where outbreaks last longer, intervention or investigation into the causes could be needed.
Fertilizer should not be used out-of-season or excessively, and organic fertilizer is not exempt from being a potential environmental threat.