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NO. R-211.  Joint resolution relating to federal funding and state administration of a mercury manometer removal and replacement program.


Offered by:  Committee on Agriculture.

Whereas, mercury manometers are placed in milkhouses to measure the amount of vacuum pressure that is being applied in the milking process, and

Whereas, each mercury manometer contains between one-half pound and one pound of elemental mercury housed in an open plastic tube attached to the milkhouse wall, and may be accompanied by a one‑pound bottle of mercury used to top off the open‑ended manometer tube, and

Whereas, if a mercury manometer breaks in a milkhouse, the mercury contaminates the concrete milkhouse floor, resulting in permanent hazardous mercury volatilization in the milkhouse, requiring the removal of the concrete floor and disposal of the hazardous waste, and

Whereas, this is an extremely expensive process that can cost an individual farmer thousands of dollars, and

Whereas, in the late 1990s, the then department of agriculture, food and markets identified at least 110 mercury manometers, either operational or inactive, and

Whereas, an unknown additional number of inactive mercury manometers may not have been identified at the time, and

Whereas, the cost to remove a mercury manometer and replace it with a nonmercury manometer is approximately $500.00, and the safe disposal of an unused manometer as hazardous waste can cost several hundred dollars, and

Whereas, the agency of agriculture, food and markets’ mercury manometer replacement program has to date replaced dozens of manometers, and

Whereas, federal grant money may be available to provide financial support for the agency to remove and replace manometers, now therefore be it

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives:

That the General Assembly urges Congress to appropriate funds to the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, or any other appropriate federal agency or department, to enable the Vermont agency of agriculture, food and markets to restart the mercury dairy manometer removal and replacement program, and be it further

Resolved:  That the secretary of state be directed to send a copy of this resolution to Steve Kerr, secretary of agriculture, food and markets, and to the members of the Vermont Congressional Delegation.


Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont