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Introduced by   Senator Condos of Chittenden District and Senator Lyons of Chittenden District

Referred to Committee on


Subject:  Conservation; water pollution control; granular fertilizer; turf

Statement of purpose:  This bill proposes to limit the amount of granular fertilizer that may be applied per 1,000 square feet of turf for nonagricultural uses.  It proposes to create exceptions to the prohibition if certain test results of the land are obtained during the first year of establishing turf.  It proposes to prohibit applying a fertilizer containing phosphorus to an impervious surface.  It proposes to provide consumer information on prohibited uses and voluntary best management practices for fertilizers containing phosphorus, and in particular for residential sources of phosphorus in the urban landscape.  Finally, it proposes to set a penalty of $25.00 for noncompliance. 


It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

Sec. 1.  10 V.S.A. § 1266b is added to read:


(a)  Definitions.  The definitions in this subsection apply to this section.

(1)  “Impervious surface” means a highway, street, sidewalk, parking lot, driveway, or other material that prevents infiltration of water into the soil.

(2)  “Turf” means noncropland planted in closely mowed, managed grasses including, but not limited to, residential and commercial residential property, private golf courses, and property owned by federal, state, or local units of government, including parks, recreation areas, and public golf courses. “Turf” does not mean pasture, hay land, hay, or turf grown on turf farms.

(b)  Prohibition.

(1)  A person may not apply a granular fertilizer containing greater than three percent phosphorus by weight or a liquid fertilizer at a rate greater than 0.3 pounds phosphorus per 1,000 square feet to turf except when:

(A)  a tissue, soil, or other test by a laboratory or method approved by the secretary of agriculture, food and markets and performed within the last three years indicates that the levels of available phosphorus in the soil are insufficient to support healthy turf growth;

(B)  the property owner or an agent of the property owner is first establishing turf via seed or sod procedures, and only during the first growing season.

(2)  Applications of phosphorus fertilizer done under subdivision (1)(A) or (B) of this subsection must not exceed rates currently recommended by the University of Vermont and approved by the secretary of agriculture, food and markets, if any.

(3)  A person may not apply a fertilizer containing the plant nutrient phosphorus to an impervious surface.  Fertilizer containing phosphorus released on an impervious surface must be immediately contained and either legally applied to turf or any other legal site or returned to the original or other appropriate container.

(c)  Consumer information.  The secretary of agriculture, food and markets, in consultation with the University of Vermont extension service, fertilizer industry representatives, lakes groups, and other interested or affected parties, should continue to produce consumer information in a format and of a content suitable for distribution at retail points of sale of fertilizer that contains phosphorus and is for use on turf; and should include recommendations for conspicuously posting consumer information pertaining to lawful sale and prohibited uses, and pertaining to voluntary best management practices for fertilizers containing phosphorus, and in particular best management practices for residential sources of phosphorus in the urban landscape as recommended by the secretary of agriculture, food and markets.

(d)  Penalty.  Notwithstanding other provisions of law to the contrary, the penalty for violating this section may not exceed $25.00.  No penalty may be imposed before August 1, 2006.


10 V.S.A. § 1266b(b) shall take effect on July 1, 2005.  The rest of this act shall take effect on passage.

Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont