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BILL AS INTRODUCED 2007-2008

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S.68

Introduced by Senator Condos of Chittenden District and Senator Ayer of Addison District

Referred to Committee on

Date:

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 also proposes to set a penalty of $25.00 for noncompliance.  In addition, the bill removes the dishwasher exemption from the law that prohibits phosphorus above trace quantities in most household cleansing products sold and used in the state.

AN ACT RELATING TO LIMITING THE APPLICATION OF GRANULAR FERTILIZERS TO NONAGRICULTURAL TURF

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


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

§ 1266b.  GRANULAR FERTILIZER USE LIMITATION

(a)  Definitions.  As used in 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 (A) or (B) of this subdivision (1) 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, lake 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.

Sec. 2.  10 V.S.A. § 1266c is added to read:

§ 1266c.  PHOSPHORUS USE REDUCTION

(a)  Consumer information on dishwasher detergents that contain no more than a trace amount of phosphorus.

(1)  The secretary of natural resources, in consultation with detergent industry representatives, groups interested in water quality issues, and other interested citizens, shall develop information for distribution to the general public with respect to the following:

(A)  problems faced by the waters of the state because of discharges of phosphorus;

(B)  an explanation of the extent to which discharges of phosphorus result from the use of specified consumer products, in general, and the extent to which they result from phosphorus-containing dishwasher detergents in particular;

(C)  a list of the brand names of dishwasher detergents, whether carried by a particular retailer or not, that contain no more than a trace amount of phosphorus.

(2)  The secretary shall develop the information required under this subsection and make it available to the general public in the manner deemed most effective, which may include:

(A)  conspicuous posting at the point of retail sale of dishwasher detergents, according to recommendations for how that conspicuous posting may best take place;

(B)  public service announcements by means of electronic media;

(C)  other methods deemed by the secretary to be likely to be effective.

(b)  Assessment of effectiveness of consumer education program.  The secretary shall develop proposed criteria for evaluating the effectiveness of the education program established under this section and shall present them to the legislative committees on natural resources and energy by no later than

January 1, 2007.  By no later than July 1, 2007, the secretary shall hold one or more public information meetings to obtain the input of the public on a draft assessment of the effectiveness of this section in reducing the use of dishwashing detergents that contain more than a trace amount of phosphorus. By no later than December 1, 2008, the secretary shall provide those legislative committees with a final assessment of the effectiveness of this section, which shall include an analysis of the extent to which the information developed under this section has been effectively provided to and relied upon by retail customers who purchase dishwasher detergents and shall include any recommendations for making the program more effective.

Sec. 3.  10 V.S.A. § 1382 is amended to read:

§ 1382.  PROHIBITIONS

(a)  No household cleansing products except those used in dishwashers, for cleansing medical and surgical equipment, food and beverage processing equipment, and dairy equipment may be distributed, sold, offered, or exposed for sale at retail, after April 1, 1978, or at wholesale, after January 1, 1978, or used in a commercial establishment in this state, after April 1, 1978, which shall contain a phosphorus compound in concentrations in excess of a trace quantity.

(b)  No household cleansing products used in dishwashers, for cleansing medical and surgical equipment and food and beverage processing equipment, may be distributed, sold, offered, or exposed for sale at retail, after April 1, 1978, or at wholesale, after January 1, 1978, or used in a commercial establishment in this state, after April 1, 1978, which shall contain a phosphorus compound in concentrations in excess of 8.7 percent by weight expressed as elemental phosphorus.  No household cleansing products used in dishwashers may be distributed, sold, offered, or exposed for sale at retail after April 1, 2006, or at wholesale after January 1, 2006, or used in a commercial establishment in this state after April 1, 2006, which shall contain a phosphorus compound in concentrations in excess of a trace quantity.

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Sec. 4.  APPROPRIATION

The sum of $25,000.00 is appropriated from the general fund for fiscal year 2007 to the secretary of agriculture, food and markets for purposes of implementing the provisions of this act that pertain to fertilizers.  The sum of $25,000.00 is appropriated from the general fund for fiscal year 2007 to the secretary of natural resources for purposes of implementing the provisions of this act that pertain to dishwasher detergent.



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us