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Missoula Valley Water Quality District
(406) 258-4890
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Missoula Valley Water Quality District

Department: Water Quality District
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Water Quality District - Hazardous Waste

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What are They?

Fertilizers are soil additives usually containing nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, and may also contain weed killers (herbicides) or bug killers (pesticides or insecticides). The numbers on the fertilizer bag (e.g. 10-8-6) refer to the percentages by weight of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium respectively. Read the label for a list of ingredients.

What Makes Them Hazardous?

Fertilizers with added weed and/or bug killers can be toxic to humans and other organisms in the environment. Excess fertilizers can run off into surface waters and cause water quality problems such as algae blooms.

Consumer Tips

Leave grass clippings on the lawn. This practice reduces the need for fertilizer application during the growing season, and helps shade roots, reducing the amount of watering required.

Be sure to sweep up applied fertilizer granules from hard surfaces (driveways and sidewalks) so they do not run into storm sewers and nearby water.

Twice as much fertilizer does not work twice as well and only increases the chance of runoff into surrounding waters.

Disposal Options


The Residential Disposal Guide is provided by the Missoula Valley Water Quality District as a public service and is not an endorsement of specific businesses, services or products. Any omissions or inaccuracies are unintentional. Please contact us with corrections or additions. Call businesses or agencies to confirm hours, locations and charges for services, if any. For information on disposal of items not listed, email or call the Water Quality District at 406-258-4890, M - F, 8 am to 5 pm.

Much of the information provided is from the Washington County, MN, Dept. of Public Health and Environment website.

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