NEWS RELEASE — Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation
December 5, 2012
MONTPELIER – The Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation issued an updated Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) general permit today. Designed to address pollution from stormwater runoff, the MS4 permit applies to thirteen municipalities and three institutional entities in the Lake Champlain watershed. Communities already subject to the MS4 permit include Burlington, Colchester, Essex, Essex Junction, Milton, Shelburne, South Burlington, Williston and Winooski, as well as the non-municipal entities Burlington International Airport, University of Vermont and Vermont Agency of Transportation within the geographical boundaries of these municipalities. In addition to these communities, which will have to meet the new requirements of the updated permit, the Department has designated Rutland town and city, and St. Albans town and city as new MS4s subject to the requirements of the permit.
Many streams and rivers in Vermont’s urbanized areas suffer from polluted runoff from buildings, parking lots, and roads that contains metals, oil and grease, and nutrients. In addition, this runoff can cause serious erosion with associated damage to fish and wildlife living in and along streams, and impacts to recreational and fishing opportunities. The sediment and nutrients associated with this erosion washes downstream and eventually, much of this pollution impacts Lake Champlain. The MS4 permit requires the affected communities, UVM, the airport and VTrans to develop stormwater management and flow restoration plans that include controls to reduce the amount of polluted runoff into streams, rivers, ponds and lakes. The Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation will assist municipalities with the development of their stormwater management and flow restoration plans. The affected communities will be eligible to apply for zero interest loans to defray the costs of the planning efforts. For the longer-term, the Department is exploring ways in which the state can assist communities with the costs of implementing the stormwater controls needed to comply with this permit and will be working with the Legislature to identify funding options in the coming legislative session.
The MS4 permit requires permit holders to implement the required stormwater control and flow restoration practices as soon as possible, but no later than twenty years from the effective date of the permit. “We look forward to working with communities to develop schedules customized to the specific needs of a given watershed in order for the plans to succeed in restoring these streams, and to protect downstream receiving waters such as Lake Champlain” said Padraic Monks, Program Manager for DEC’s Stormwater Management Program.
The Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is one of three branches of the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources. The DEC collects and analyzes data, monitors the quality of air, water and ecosystem health, and is charged with preserving, enhancing, restoring and conserving Vermont’s natural resources, and protecting human health for the benefit of current and future generations. For more information on MS4 permit requirements, please contact Christy Witters at [email protected] or at (802) 490-6173 and explore the documents on DEC’s website at http://www.vtwaterquality.org/stormwater/htm/sw_ms4.htm.