Prev Next


(1) No person shall distribute an adulterated fertilizer or soil amendment. Fertilizers and soil amendments distributed in the state and required to be registered by the department are adulterated when they contain metals in amounts that exceed the levels provided within this rule.

(2) This rule establishes metal standards for fertilizers and soil amendments that do and do not contain waste or sewage sludge. Fertilizers and soil amendments that contain waste are termed "waste-derived." "Waste-derived" is defined as any fertilizer or soil amendment produced from or containing recyclable materials classified as a waste under Code of Federal Regulations, Title 40, Parts 261.2 and 261.3 (40 CFR 261.2 and 261.3).

(3) Fertilizers and soil amendments, whether waste-derived or not, that contain guaranteed amounts of phosphates or micronutrients, except as exempted within this section, are adulterated when they exceed the levels of metals established by the following table:


Metals ppm per 1% of P2O5 ppm per 1% of Micronutrients
Arsenic (As)
Cadmium (Cd)
Cobalt (Co)
Lead (Pb)
Mercury (Hg)
Molybdenum (Mo)
Nickel (Ni)
Selenium (Se)
Zinc (Zn)


Footnote: * Only applies when not guaranteed.


(a) Fertilizers and soil amendments such as compost, manures and manipulated manures or other organic matter, separately or in combination with sewage sludge, even those products making nutrient claims, are exempt from the table above, but are adulterated when the levels of metals exceed the levels permitted in 40 CFR 503.

(b) These standards are not to be used to evaluate growing media claiming nutrients, but may be applied to the sources of the nutrients added to the media.

(c) Micronutrients can include iron, manganese, zinc, copper, molybdenum, boron, cobalt, chlorine, nickel, and sodium.

(d) To use the table:

(i) multiply the percent guaranteed P205 or sum of the guaranteed percentages of all micronutrients in each product by the value in the appropriate column in the table to obtain the maximum allowable concentration (ppm) of these metals;

(ii) the minimum value for P205, utilized as a multiplier shall be 6.0;

(iii) the minimum value for micronutrients utilized as a multiplier shall be 1.0; and

(iv) if a product contains both P205 and micronutrients, multiply the guaranteed percent P205 by the value in the appropriate column and multiply the sum of the guaranteed percentages of the micronutrients by the value in the appropriate column. Utilize the higher of the two resulting values as the maximum allowable concentrations.

(4) Fertilizers and soil amendments are adulterated when the end product contains:

(a) Sewage sludge and the levels of metals exceed the levels permitted in 40 CFR 503;

(b) Solid waste and the level of cadmium exceeds the level permitted in 40 CFR 257; or

(c) Hazardous waste and the levels of metals in the waste component exceed the levels permitted in 40 CFR 261, 266, and 268.

(5) When a fertilizer or soil amendment is subject to standards referenced in both (3) and (4) of this rule, the department will apply the more restrictive standards.

(6) The Montana Department of Agriculture adopts and incorporates by reference 40 CFR 257, 261, 266, 268 and 503, regarding solid waste, hazardous waste and sewage sludge management, as published on December 27, 2002. A copy of these regulations can be obtained by contacting the department at 303 N. Roberts, Helena, Montana, 59620-0201.

(7) Testing methodology used by the department in analyzing metal content for the end product will be for the intent of discovering the total metal content of a fertilizer or soil amendment product. Such methodology includes AOAC Official Method 2006.03 (Arsenic, Cadmium, Cobalt, Chromium, Lead, Molybdenum, Nickel, and Selenium in Fertilizers) or other comparable methods approved by the department.

(8) The department will coordinate with the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) on compliance actions involving violations of standards in 40 CFR 257, 261, 266, 268 and 503. The department may enter into a written agreement with DEQ to further clarify agency responsibilities and procedures for coordinating separate or joint actions.

(9) Nothing in this rule may be construed as relieving a person from obligations to comply with all state and federal laws regulating the disposal, use, and recycling of solid waste, hazardous waste or sewage sludge.

History: 80-10-301, MCA; IMP, 80-10-205, MCA; NEW, 2002 MAR p. 2959, Eff. 12/27/02; AMD, 2010 MAR P. 1795, Eff. 8/13/10.

Home  |   Search  |   About Us  |   Contact Us  |   Help  |   Disclaimer  |   Privacy & Security