North Country News
6:20 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

New Stormwater Permits Issued to Reduce Runoff into Lake Champlain

The Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation has issued new storm water permits to thirteen communities and three institutions to help control runoff in the Lake Champlain watershed.  There are some concerns that the remediation timetable is too long.

The MS4 permit requires 13 communities, the University of Vermont, the Burlington International Airport and the state Transportation Agency to develop storm water management plans to reduce polluted runoff. Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation MS4 Program Coordinator Christy Witters says the permits will help the state meet and control its maximum allowance of pollutants in Lake Champlain.

Communities must plan and implement storm water control and restoration as soon as possible, but are allowed 20 years to comply.  Conservation Law Foundation Vermont Director, and Clean Water Healthy Forests Director, Chris Killian is concerned about that time frame.

Christy Witters explains that the MS4 is a federal permit.

The estimated cost for planning and remediation of the dozen streams and brooks is 100-million dollars, and according to Witters, communities will be eligible for zero interest loans.

Storm water runoff from buildings, roads and parking areas contain metals, oil,  grease and nutrients such as phosphorus.  The chemicals in the water are washed into Lake Champlain where the pollutants damage the ecosystem.