Non-functional Turf Ban and Artificial Turf Chemical03-18-24 | Legislation

Non-functional Turf Ban and Artificial Turf Chemical

Water Conservation Legislation
by Staff

States in drought prone areas like Nevada, Colorado, Arizona, and Utah have developed legislation against non-functional turf to assist in water wise practices.

According to Water Education Colorado, non-functional turf is defined as grass that is "predominantly ornamental and located in an area that is not regularly used for civic, community, or recreational purposes such as parks, sports fields, and playgrounds." Meanwhile, non-functional turf legislation is beginning to pop across the country as water use becomes a prevalent landscape practice.

In January, a proposal bill in Colorado, Senate Bill 24-005 stood to prohibit local governments from allowing the "installation, planting, or placement of nonfunctional turf, artificial turf, or invasive plant species on commercial, institutional, or industrial property." The bill has passed and been signed by the Senate and was sent to the Governor on March 12, 2024. If signed by the Governor, the bill will take effect on January 1, 2026.
Meanwhile, California AB1572, which was approved by the Governor on October 13, 2023, "would make legislative findings and declarations concerning water use, including that the use of potable water to irrigate nonfunctional turf is wasteful and incompatible with state policy relating to climate change, water conservation, and reduced reliance on the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta ecosystem." This legislation sets to encourage and support the elimination of irrigation of nonfunctional turf with potable water.
Amid this legislation, California Governor Gavin Newsom had also vetoed a bill in October, 2023 that would limit the use of PFAS or forever chemicals found in artificial turf.
Artificial turf was previously seen as the answer to creating drought tolerant and water wise landscapes, yet these chemicals are can lead to dangerous health impacts which led the FDA to officially remove the chemicals from food packaging earlier this month. This comes as the EPA released data stating that about 70 million people are exposed to PFAS in drinking water however, the testing only checked about one-third of the nation's public water systems meaning that they are on pace to find 200 million people exposed, or 60% of the US population.
This story continues to develop. LASN will continue to update readers.