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Searching 2023-2024 Session

The Vermont Statutes Online

The Vermont Statutes Online have been updated to include the actions of the 2023 session of the General Assembly.

NOTE: The Vermont Statutes Online is an unofficial copy of the Vermont Statutes Annotated that is provided as a convenience.

Title 10 : Conservation and Development

Chapter 047 : Water Pollution Control

Subchapter 001 : Water Pollution Control

(Cite as: 10 V.S.A. § 1266b)
  • § 1266b. Application of phosphorus fertilizer

    (a) Definitions. As used in this section:

    (1) “Compost” means a stable humus-like material produced by the controlled biological decomposition of organic matter through active management, but shall not mean sewage, septage, or materials derived from sewage or septage.

    (2) “Fertilizer” shall have the same meaning as in 6 V.S.A. § 363(5).

    (3) “Impervious surface” means those manmade surfaces, including paved and unpaved roads, parking areas, roofs, driveways, and walkways, from which precipitation runs off rather than infiltrates.

    (4) “Manipulated animal or vegetable manure” means manure that is ground, pelletized, mechanically dried, supplemented with plant nutrients or substances other than phosphorus or phosphate, or otherwise treated to assist with the use of manure as fertilizer.

    (5) “Nitrogen fertilizer” means fertilizer labeled for use on turf in which the nitrogen content consists of less than 15 percent slow-release nitrogen.

    (6) “Phosphorus fertilizer” means fertilizer labeled for use on turf in which the available phosphate content is greater than 0.67 percent by weight, except that “phosphorus fertilizer” shall not include compost or manipulated animal or vegetable manure.

    (7) “Slow-release nitrogen” means nitrogen in a form that is released over time and that is not water-soluble nitrogen.

    (8)(A) “Turf” means land planted in closely mowed, managed grasses, including residential and commercial property and publicly owned land, parks, and recreation areas.

    (B) “Turf” shall not include:

    (i) pasture, cropland, land used to grow sod, or any other land used for agricultural production; or

    (ii) private and public golf courses.

    (9) “Water” or “water of the State” means all rivers, streams, creeks, brooks, reservoirs, ponds, lakes, springs, and all bodies of surface waters, artificial or natural, that are contained within, flow through, or border upon the State or any portion of it.

    (10) “Water-soluble nitrogen” means nitrogen in a water-soluble form that does not have slow-release properties.

    (b) Application of phosphorus fertilizer.

    (1) No person shall apply phosphorus fertilizer to turf except for:

    (A) phosphorus fertilizer necessary for application to turf that is deficient in phosphorus as shown by a soil test performed no more than 18 months before the application of the fertilizer; or

    (B) phosphorus fertilizer that is labeled as starter fertilizer and that is intended for application to turf when a property owner or an agent of a property owner is first establishing grass in turf via seed or sod procedures and the application of starter fertilizer is limited to the first growing season.

    (2) On or before October 1, 2011, the Secretary of Agriculture, Food and Markets, after consultation with the University of Vermont, shall approve a standard, that may authorize multiple testing methods, for the soil test required under subdivision (1)(A) of this subsection.

    (c) Application of nitrogen fertilizer. No person shall apply nitrogen fertilizer to turf.

    (d) Application of fertilizer to impervious surface; in proximity to water; and seasonal restriction. No person shall apply any fertilizer:

    (1) to an impervious surface. Fertilizer applied or released to an impervious surface shall be immediately collected and returned to a container for legal application. This subdivision shall not apply to activities regulated under the required agricultural practices as those practices are defined by the Secretary of Agriculture, Food and Markets under 6 V.S.A. § 4810;

    (2) to turf before April 1 or after October 15 in any calendar year or at any time when the ground is frozen; or

    (3) to turf within 25 feet of a water of the State.

    (e) Retail display of phosphorus fertilizer. If a retailer sells or offers for sale phosphorus fertilizer to consumers and consumers have direct access to the phosphorus fertilizer, the retailer shall:

    (1) In the retail area where phosphorus fertilizer is accessible by a consumer, display nonphosphorus fertilizer separately from phosphorus fertilizer.

    (2) Post in the retail location, if any, where phosphorus fertilizer is accessible by the consumer a clearly visible sign that is at least eight and one-half inches by 11 inches in size and that states “Phosphorus runoff poses a threat to water quality. Most Vermont lawns do not benefit from fertilizer containing phosphorus. Under Vermont law, fertilizer containing phosphorus shall not be applied to lawn unless applied to new lawn or lawn that is deficient for phosphorus as indicated by a soil test.”

    (f) Violations. A person who knowingly and intentionally violates this section shall be subject to a civil penalty of not more than $500.00 per violation. A violation of this section shall be enforceable in the Judicial Bureau pursuant to the provisions of 4 V.S.A. chapter 29 in an action that may be brought by the Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets or the Agency of Natural Resources. (Added 2011, No. 37, § 1, eff. Jan. 1, 2012; amended 2015, No. 64, § 13.)