Excess nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) in water bodies are a leading cause of water quality degradation statewide. More than 50 Florida counties and municipalities now have formal fertilizer ordinances, which in some cases include fertilizer blackouts, or bans on the usage of N and P fertilizers during certain times of the year. This 8-page document provides information on the underlying issues of fertilizer use, with an emphasis on an urban setting, and outlines the current state of the science on urban fertilizers and water quality in Florida. Written by Michael D. Dukes, Lisa Krimsky, Mary Lusk, Laurie Trenholm, Bryan Unruh, Michelle Atkinson, and Rao Mylavarapu, and published by the UF/IFAS Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, February 2020.
Soils are a foundational component of the landscape, providing a medium for plant root growth and playing a crucial role in nutrient cycling and water movement across the landscape. This new 7-page article describes the physical properties of soils, including soil formation in Florida, the soil profile, and water dynamics within soils, and provides a thorough reference for Master Gardeners and other individuals searching for a basic understanding of soil dynamics to apply to residential landscapes. Written by Amy L. Shober, Alexander J. Reisinger, Mary G. Lusk, and Sally Ann Scalera and published by the UF/IFAS Department of Soil and Water Sciences.
This 6-page publication’s purpose is to educate master gardeners and homeowners about the principles of soil health as well as practices that harm or nurture soil health at the residential scale. It also includes a description of the soil food web and the microorganisms that comprise it. This new publication of the UF/IFAS Department of Soil and Water Sciences was written by Sally Scalera, Alexander J. Reisinger, and Mary Lusk.
This 5-page document written by Lisa Krimsky, Andrea Albertin, Charles Barrett, James Fletcher, and Mary Lusk and published by the UF/IFAS Program in Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences of the School of Forest Resources and Conservation is intended to act as a quick reference guide and is not inclusive of all measures in SB 552. This summary addresses the Florida Springs and Aquifer Protection Act, the Central Florida Water Initiative, Northern Everglades and Estuaries Protection, and Pilot Programs for Alternative Water Supply.
Trace organic chemicals are potentially harmful to human and ecosystem health. They frequently occur in wastewater from septic systems and can be found in concentrations orders of magnitude higher than typical concentrations reported in centralized treatment plant wastewater. This 7-page fact sheet identifies common trace organic chemicals of concern in wastewater and their sources, and summarizes current research on the fate and transport of these chemicals in septic systems. Written by Gurpal S. Toor, Mary Lusk, and Tom Obreza, and published by the UF Department of Soil and Water Science, November 2011. (photo CC BY-SA 3.0 Mila)
Keeping disease-causing microorganisms out of groundwater used for drinking water supplies is important to protect human health. This 7-page fact sheet characterizes the behavior of viruses in septic systems and the soil drain field and summarizes what we know about the extent and character of groundwater contamination with viruses emanating from septic systems. Written by Mary Lusk, Gurpal S. Toor, and Tom Obreza, and published by the UF Department of Soil and Water Science, October 2011.
Phosphorus (P) in onsite sewage treatment and disposal systems is a concern because P can impair water quality even lower concentrations than nitrogen. This 8-page fact sheet summarizes the sources of P in septic tank effluent and the forms, concentrations, and behavior of P in the septic tank effluent and the drain field. Written by Mary Lusk, Gurpal S. Toor, and Tom Obreza and published by the UF Department of Soil and Water Science, July 2011. (Photo by Milt Putnam)
Keeping disease-causing microorganisms out of groundwater used for drinking water supplies is important to protect human health.This 7-page fact sheet reports the sources of bacteria and protozoa in wastewater, discusses diseases associated with drinking water contaminated with wastewater, and then details their fate in septic systems. Written by Mary Lusk, Gurpal S. Toor, and Tom Obreza, and published by the UF Department of Soil and Water Science, July 2011. (Photo by Tara Piasio)
This 7-page fact sheet introduces common types of septic systems and briefly discusses onsite wastewater flow and the contaminants found in wastewater. Written by Gurpal Toor, Mary Lusk, and Tom Obreza, and published by the UF Department of Soil and Water Science, June 2011.
In the United States, about 4,800 water bodies are impaired due to excess nitrogen (N), and septic systems are recognized as one source of N pollution. This 6-page fact sheet describes the behavior and transport of N from a conventional septic system and the summarizes the sources of N in sewage, the forms and behavior of N in septic tanks and drain fields, and the fate and transport of N in groundwater. Written by Gurpal Toor, Mary Lusk, and Tom Obreza, and published by the UF Department of Soil and Water Science, June 2011.
Reclaimed water is former wastewater from households, schools, offices, hospitals, and commercial and industrial facilities that has been disinfected and treated to remove certain impurities such as nutrients and pathogens. After flowing out of wastewater treatment plants, reclaimed water is piped back to communities for reuse in numerous domestic, industrial, and agricultural applications. Though reclaimed water cannot be used for drinking water in Florida, it is considered highly safe and reliable for non-potable water needs. These fact sheets were written by Gurpal S. Toor and Mary Lusk, and published by the UF Department of Soil and Water Science, January 2011:
What’s in Reclaimed Water and Where Does It Go? (SL337/SS542)
Constituents of Concern in Reclaimed Water (SL338/SS543)
Managing Salinity, Sodicity, and Specific Ions in Sites Irrigated with Reclaimed Water (SL340/SS545)
Understanding Landscape Irrigation Water Quality Tests (SL341/SS546)