SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – The Utah Quality Task Force launched a small farms water quality website Monday afternoon to help small farms avoid actions that would harm neighbors downstream and Utah’s water quality in general. The task force says that this is important as more people are interested in growing their own food amid recent earthquakes and the coronavirus outbreak.
The site, DontShareUtah.Org, has best practices for manure management, pesticide application, fertilization and many other challenges small farms face.
“There are simple changes that make a big difference,” said Jim Bowcutt, Utah Division of Water Quality environmental scientist. “We hope Utahns will take the small steps that make a big difference in water quality.”
As part of the effort, the task force analyzed soil samples submitted to the Utah State University Soil Lab and found that phosphorus, the most common ingredient in many fertilizers, was often high.
“We visualized nutrient data from soil samples submitted from all around the state,” said Nancy Mesner, USU Extension water quality specialist. “Many regions are showing phosphorus levels over 25 times higher than what is recommended for healthy plants. These unused nutrients are carried by irrigation or rain runoff into our surface waters. Just like we shouldn’t share chewing gum, we shouldn’t share water pollution.”