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Leading by Example, GSA Goes Organic

Release Date: 04/30/2008
Contact Information: David Sternberg: EPA (215) 814-5548, & Michael McGill: GSA (202) 205-1624,

WASHINGTON (April 30, 2008) Spring is here, and the General Services Administration has begun using organic fertilizer on the grounds of all its federal buildings in the National Capital Region. The region, which is part of the Chesapeake Bay watershed, includes the District of Columbia, as well parts of Virginia and Maryland.

GSA is using 100-percent organic pelletized chicken manure at 64 sites, covering 84 acres. The poultry litter is being collected by a private company and converted to usable organic fertilizer – then transported by truck to the region, and properly applied at the GSA properties.

“GSA is providing a reasonable alternative for poultry farmers to traditional manure applications, creating a sustainable new market for this material. GSA's switch to all organic fertilizer sets a good example of the kind of steps we all need to take to restore the health of the Chesapeake Bay,” said EPA Regional Administrator Donald S. Welsh.

"Use of organic fertilizer is but one of many sustainable practices that GSA employs in our landscaping program," commented GSA Regional Administrator Tony Reed. "In this first year of utilizing this approach for all of our buildings in the National Capital Region, we have applied 80 tons, enriching our landscapes at the same time we are helping to clean up Chesapeake Bay.”

Chemical fertilizer, animal manure, and poultry litter are major sources of excess nitrogen and phosphorus that cause water quality problems in the Chesapeake Bay. These pollutants get washed into local rivers, streams, and groundwater and eventually reach the bay, where they contribute to massive algae blooms. As these blooms die off and decompose, they rob the bay of dissolved oxygen creating dead zones in which fish and other aquatic life cannot survive.

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