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Projects Database

Mercury Manometer Replacement On Dairy Equipment

Project Information

Award Amount:$80,000.00
Dollars Leveraged:$4,210.00
Start-End Dates:10/1/98-9/30/01
Description:Summary: Wisconsin has approximately 20,000 operating dairy farms that milk cows two or three times each day. Each of these farms has a device to accurately measure the negative pressure in their milking system. The goal of the project was to remove these mercury devices from milking systems and replace them with non-mercury gauges (digital read out, etc.), as part of the long-term strategy to replace mercury devices with a suitable non-mercury device when available. The challenge of this project was to provide a satisfactory incentive and then convince the dairy farmer to give up a device with an established satisfactory performance record. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources removed 416 manometers from dairy farms, 371 manometers from operating farms and several from farms that were no longer milking cows, for a total collection of 312 pounds of mercury.

Environmental Results/Products: The success of the project was due to the formation of partnerships with other state agencies and the private business sector that have more credibility with the farmer than a regulatory agency. Their cooperation was vital to convince the dairy farmer that the mercury manometer on their milking system could be replaced by an accurate and reliable non-mercury vacuum gauge.

A professor from the University of Wisconsin (UW) professor in the College of Agriculture, who is an expert on milking equipment and conducts experiments, promoted the program by evaluating suitable replacement gauges, setting up a meeting with dairy equipment service providers and using a mercury manometer from the milking lab to experiment with handling techniques.

Farmers often request advice from county agricultural agents. Knowing this, the UW Extension agriculture agents serving in each county were solicited for help with this program. Background information and a supply of program brochures to answer questions and publicize the project were provided to the agents.

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) have inspectors that check the sanitation on each dairy farm twice a year. This department was solicited for their help by leaving a brochure explaining the program on each farm where they noticed a mercury manometer.

Vendors agreed to provide the alternative manometers at a minimized equipment and installation cost. Based on the services provided by the equipment vendor, the dairy farmers were required to pay a minimal cost to replace their manometer.

The outcome of this project was 416 manometers have been removed from dairy farms, 371 were removed from operating farms and the rest were removed from farms that are no longer milking cows. These manometers contained 312 pounds of mercury.


There are no reports associated with this project.

Funding Organizations

Below is a list of organizations with individual contacts that are funding this project.

U.S. EPA Great Lakes National Program Office - Primary Contact

77 W Jackson Blvd
Chicago, Illinois 60604
There are no individuals in this organization
associated with this project.

Organizations Receiving Funding

Below is a list of organizations with individual contacts that are receiving funding for this project.

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources - Primary Contact

101 S. Webster Street, P.O. Box 7921
Madison, Wisconsin 53707
p: 608-267-3125
Individual Contacts

Associated Organizations

Below is a list of associated organizations that are NOT giving or receiving funding for this project.

University of Wisconsin-College of Agricultural and Life Sciences - Partner

140 Agricultural Hall
Madison, Wisconsin 53708
p: (608) 262-4930

University of Wisconsin-Extension Office - Partner

161 W. Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 6000
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53203
p: 414-227-3371
f: 414-227-3165

Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection - Partner

2811 Agriculture Drive
Madison, Wisconsin 53718
p: 608-224-5012


Great Lakes Regional Pollution Prevention Roundtable (GLRPPR)
One East Hazelwood Drive Champaign, IL 61820
(217) 333-8940

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