WI author investigates use of phosphorus in fertilizer

Published: Mar. 6, 2023 at 5:59 PM CST
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - One journalist investigating the use of phosphorus in fertilizer says it’s the main cause for blue green algae.

Dan Egan is a Pulitzer Prize finalist with the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

He says phosphorus is being used at a staggering rate. Phosphorus is one of three main elements in fertilizer, but there is only a finite amount unlike nitrogen and potassium.

Egan says fertilizer run off from farms is causing the spike in blue green algae.

“We’re overusing it in some cases to the point that we’re turning our rivers and lakes. A goopy, toxic green with this blue green algae, which just absolutely feasts on phosphorus. And most of that phosphorus is coming off of agricultural lands, either in the form of washed away chemical fertilizer store bought fertilizer or as manure,” Dan Egan, Journalist, UW Milwaukee School of Freshwater Science, said.

Egan’s book ‘Devils Element’ is set to be released Tuesday.