State looks beyond the shoreline in effort to clean up Lake Champlain

David Mears, commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation, testified before lawmakers on Wednesday on the state’s plan to restore Lake Champlain’s water quality. Photo by John Herrick/VTDigger

David Mears, commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation, testified before lawmakers on Wednesday on the state’s plan to restore Lake Champlain’s water quality. Photo by John Herrick/VTDigger

A visit from a federal official Wednesday served as a reminder to lawmakers that the clock is ticking on a mandate to clean up Lake Champlain.

The Environmental Protection Agency expects a letter from the Legislature and Gov. Peter Shumlin by the end of March spelling out timelines and priorities for easing phosphorus pollution in the lake.

The nation’s sixth-largest body of fresh water, which many say is critical to Vermont’s quality of life and economy, does not meet water quality standards set by federal regulators. The state must clean up the lake or face tightened wastewater regulations and cutbacks in federal support, EPA officials say.

Stephen Perkins, director of ecosystem protection for the EPA, drove home the point Wednesday.

“We want to get a clear picture of what programs will be implemented by when,” Perkins told lawmakers. “We want to see how all of that lays out to have confidence that stuff is going to happen.”

Without a commitment from the state, the EPA said it will clamp down on sources of water pollution, namely water treatment plants. The state would then be required to upgrade the facilities at a huge cost or challenge the regulations in court, according to state Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner David Mears.

“We’ll spend a lot of money on lawyers, we’ll spend a lot of money on forcing the more developed areas of our state to have to invest more in sewage treatment capacity, we’ll be requiring the largest developers of the state to shoulder the largest burden of the cost on some major developments. And all of that will contribute. It will help reduce the problem, but it will not get us to where we need to go,” Mears said.

The EPA will issue its final Lake Champlain Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) report, which sets a standard for phosphorus pollution into the lake, this summer. State agencies, already working to clean up the lake with tight resources, will be required to look inland to the state’s forests, roads, farms and urban landscapes to reach the goal of reducing the lake’s phosphorus loading by 36 percent.

Lawmakers asked what would happen if the state refused to pitch in for the cleanup.

“In this situation, under the Clean Water Act, it’s not really a question about whether the state of Vermont as a whole pays for these cleanup obligations. We will be paying one way or the other,” Mears said.

Under the Clean Water Act, the EPA regulates point sources of water pollution, such as water treatment and sewage facilities that channel processed wastewater into the lake. But now the state is looking inland to rectify the lake’s water quality.

“We’re largely a rural state. Most of the pollution that’s going into the lake comes from the landscape,” Mears said. “Over 95 percent of the pollution comes from stormwater runoff. It’s not coming from those pipes.”

Mears said the cleanup will require state dollars, but federal and existing municipal funds used to manage stormwater can also be tapped. Next year, Mears said the agency will return to the Statehouse with specific cost estimates and strategic investment proposals.

A group of environmental advocates hosted a news conference after the hearing to urge the administration to make the commitment.

Christopher Kilian, vice president of the Conservation Law Foundation, recommended placing a fee on commercial development to pay for the cleanup.

Kilian said taxpayers should not have to shoulder the entire bill to clean up the lake. Instead, he said privately owned big box stores should pay for the stormwater runoff from their parking lots.

“Those facilities can be required to retrofit their footprint on order to protect Lake Champlain,” he said “And, frankly, taxpayers should not be helping big box stores comply with environmental laws through public subsidies, that’s not fair to the taxpayer.”

Lawmakers are working through a package of water quality legislation this session, including a shorelands protection law to require permits for lakeshore development under certain conditions, which passed the Senate this year.

In addition, an omnibus water quality bill, H.586, is currently under review in committee.
Lawmakers have proposed a an annual stormwater fee for all developed property (sometimes referred to as the per parcel fee) to cover the cost of cleaning up runoff.

The Vermont Citizens Advisory Committee on the Future of Lake Champlain has presented lawmakers with several other investment options, including a fertilizer tax, redirection of federal funds currently used for wastewater treatment facilities and a bottled water tax. They also suggested the state’s Current Use Program could encourage land stewardship.

Perkins, of the EPA, said the agencies charged with the cleanup must have the proper authority to carry out the state’s plan.

“I think it’s fair to say that we are supportive of making sure that all of the agencies that have stuff to do here have proper authority to take the measures that are described here,” Perkins said in an interview after the hearing.

He continued, “And, you know, to the extent that (House bill) 586 deals with funding, again, anything that makes it more likely that the funds are available for implementing these things is very positive.”

John Herrick

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  • Sean O’Neil

    Thank you for covering this important issue. Vermont’s history and culture have been greatly influenced by Lake Champlain and the Green Mountains and it is our responsibility to protect them. Lake Champlain’s problems with Phosphorous and other pollutants have and always will need to be addressed at the watershed level, which is large and complex making the job of improving the lake’s water quality a huge challenge. But we can and must bend the curve on this problem given how economically and socially critical Lake Champlain is to our State and region.

  • “Lawmakers have proposed a water quality bill that includes a stormwater fee (sometimes referred to as the per parcel fee) to require owners of developed property to pay for runoff they create.”

    Perkins, of the EPA, said the agencies charged with the cleanup must have the proper authority to carry out the state’s plan.

    “I think it’s fair to say that we are supportive of making sure that all of the agencies that have stuff to do here have proper authority to take the measures that are described here,” Perkins said in an interview after the hearing”. –

    Looks like we have come full circle with this. Now, we are back to Sewage treatment and storm water run off. Funny how after all these years of working to clean up the lake, nothing seems to have been accomplished. All the millions upon millions of $$$ poured into this and this is where we end up. Phosphorus is a hole in the water we pour $$$ into.

    The language in this article, which I copied and pasted above, leaves all our residential property open to regulatory action by State and Federal Government. When, in the future, will we hear that our Legislators are going to start micromanaging our residential rural properties (per parcel fees and “authority to carry out the mandates”) and eventually prevent us from cutting wood, raising livestock, tilling the soil or having a driveway. I have seen reports of just this sort of thing happening in other areas of this country under the heavy hand of the EPA.

    Until our Leaders step up and do something significant about liquid manure in this State I feel certain the clean up of Lake Champlain will simply keep going round and round in the same circle. We need MANDATORY BUFFER ZONES for industrialized agriculture and we need them before these EPA mandates suck us all dry and take away our property rights.

    We all need to look to the Constitution and what our rights are as property owners, “A right to own property and to use it in our own best interest”. If we don’t stand up and fight for this now, the powers that be have no qualms about stepping on the Constitutional rights of the citizens, especially when coming from the Obama Administration.

    We should all fight this! We should demand the preservation of our property rights as residential “per parcel” land owners! It’s not a matter of “if” but rather “when” will we be told we can’t have chickens or goats or a horse. We need to contact our Representatives to let them know, “hands off our rural residential property rights”! Enough with these Obama Administration Mandates that target the wrong sources!

    • Karl Riemer

      and farmers say the same thing the other way around, that targeting working farms rather than suburban dilettantes. pasture rather than asphalt, is an assault on their property rights and livelihood. Any discussion that starts with ‘us’ vs. ‘them’ and injects partisan prejudice is counterproductive.

      • Karl, if you want to participate in industry there should be sufficient care taken upon the implementation of such a process. Awareness of the water problems in Vermont were well documented well before these Industrial Farms were established in our State, yet nothing was done about regulating the possible/probable impact from these practices. Industrial Farms, along with liquid manure, are a tragedy in our State. Yet, with all the knowledge of water quality, these Industrial Farms were never properly regulated.

  • Agricultural run off into our streams and rivers has a major impact. Using incentives via the Current Use program makes a lot of sense. The Shoreland Protection Bill will not have much of an effect on Lake Champlain but could help the smaller lakes. Agriculture needs to start pulling its own weight in this discussion.

  • George Plumb

    It is very interesting that in the endless discussion about how to clean up Lake Champlain there is never any mention about the underlying cause of the pollution, the more than doubling of the population and the resultant development in the Champlain Valley in the last fifty years.

    Our environmental leaders have been saying for decades now that “we can grow the economy while protecting the environment.” With all of our many environmental problems from the pollution of our lakes to greenhouse gas emissions this has proven to be totally false yet they keep on making the claim.

    In the world wide ground breaking report which has now received 1,300 downloads, “What is an Optimal/Sustainable Population for Vermont” one of the fifteen indicators is water quality. None of the water quality experts from Vermont would write this indicator so we had to go to an out of state consultant. He in essence said that we can not continue to grow our population and protect our water quality. Check it out at

    Sure we can technically mitigate the results of development by more regulations but all they do is mitigate and not eliminate. I live in rural Washington fifty miles from the Lake. Even here there have been several miles of impervious surfaces added, many of them on steep slopes, and I am sure some of the resulting storm water runoff ends up in Lake Champlain. More regulation is not going to reduce that cause.

    It is long past time for our environmental leaders and politicians to recognize that if we want to protect the environment, on which our life depends, we can not grow the economy forever. While addressing the symptoms lets also work to address the cause by stabilizing our population size and then working towards true sustainability.

    • Frank Seawright

      The Lake Champlain Watershed map shows it extends out to the town of Eden and Eden lake. Just northeast of Eden lake is the Lowell Mtn, wind turbine installation and while the cut point for the watershed looks to be such that little of the runoff from that will enter the Lake Champlain watershed, it seems likely that some will. I understand that noises are being made about sticking several more turbines in the area right above Eden Lake and the runoff from that will surely enter the Lake Champlain watershed. The Lowell Mtn developers were given authorization to use level spreaders to mitigate the runoff and there appears to be disagreement about their effectiveness.

  • Jonathan Willson

    Buffer zones need to be mandatory and expanded for farmland. There really isn’t an option here. And treatment facilities need to be updated and forced into compliance. Wouldn’t it be nice if we had some funds to throw at this? Instead it all got sucked into the healthcare imbroglio. Shumlin and the legislature have put us in such an unsteady fiscal situation that we have no flexibility to deal with serious issues like rampant phosphorus pollution of our water bodies.

    And Ray, I agree with some of your assessments, but it’s important to note that water quality standards have been on the books since the 1960s and have been instrumental in preserving the natural beauty of this great country. Individuals and organizations alike are going to have to pitch in on this one.

    • Jonathan, you said-

      “And Ray, I agree with some of your assessments, but it’s important to note that water quality standards have been on the books since the 1960s and have been instrumental in preserving the natural beauty of this great country. Individuals and organizations alike are going to have to pitch in on this one”. –

      Instrumental in preserving the Natural Beauty! Wow, our water is as bad or worse than ever! Our native fish in the rivers and streams are all but wiped out and the waters in the bays of Lake Champlain need shutting down each summer due to blue green algae. With all the millions spent and all the regulation put in place, we are still not addressing the one major source of our problem, Industrial Farming.

  • James Maroney

    The matter of what the administration’s lake cleanup plan will cost only arose at yesterday’s meeting at the very end, seemingly as an afterthought. We all know it could be huge and we all know the plan will falter on this point.

    The plan now on the table is a tame effort to move us toward meeting our WQSs, which Secretary Ross and Commissioner Mears predict could take fifteen to twenty years. But while they do not venture to predict costs, the plan does not entail disrupting conventional dairy, the largest contributor. This is a failure on many levels; first and most significantly, conventional dairy imports huge amounts of phosphorus into the state in high protein concentrates, which passes through cows in their manure and is spread on fields whence it runs off into the lake. The problem is therefore not manure per se; it is the phosphorus in the feed, a proximate i.e., a preventable cause of the problem in the lake.

    Farmers purchase high phosphorus concentrates to boost milk production, and milk production is up (here and elsewhere) from 5,000 lbs/cow in 1940 to over 20,000 lbs/cow today. This advance is partly attributable to breeding and the replacement of the Guernsey and Jersey for the Holstein cow. But mostly it is attributable to high phosphorus feed concentrates. Farmers are justifiably interested in boosting milk yields but higher production does mean higher incomes: in fact, there is a constant 12B lb surplus in federal milk markets and Vermont has lost 93% of its dairy farms since conventional farming was introduced. So the principal result of over feeding cows (here and everywhere) is over production, which drives milk prices down, which drives farm attrition. Moreover, the cycle requires farmers to continuously seek more production, which requires them to apply more of the same nutrients that are driving the milk glut and polluting the lake. Make no mistake: Vermont cannot meet its WQSs without disrupting this cycle – and it does not require huge amounts of money. It requires political courage.

    While we are meeting in Room 11 about this most important issue, an impressive number of Vermonters are importuning their representatives to label GMOs used in processed food. GMOs are the latest technological advance in conventional farming, the perennial intention of which is to boost farm production and lower farm costs without regard to exogenous effects on the environment or on the community. GMOs may or may not be a health threat; that is beside the point. Labeling them will have no impact upon the surplus, upon the price of milk, upon Vermont farm attrition or upon lake pollution because labeling GMOs does not disrupt the conventional paradigm.

    Shifting Vermont farming to organic (over a period of years) solves all three problems: it satisfies those who demand to know if their food is safe (organic farmers do not use GMOs and organic food is clearly labeled); it lowers production because organic cows must graze on pasture, which significantly reduces the state’s herd; it lowers production because organic requires that cows be fed a forage as opposed to a grain-based diet, which sharply reduces the demand for concentrates; and since it prohibits the use of artificial fertilizers and herbicides, organic agriculture lowers lake pollution by half. The state has many experts on organic farming, David Rogers at NOFA and Bob Parsons at UVM prominent among them, not to mention Vermont’s own Senator Patrick Leahy, who was the principal force behind the National Organic Program. The Fish and Wildlife Committee should explore this option, which among its many appealing attributes is that it is near cost free.

  • Annette Smith

    It’s no wonder the state is not making progress. Whether it’s sediment coming off mountains or approving dumping more (and more toxic) chemicals into drinking water or turning a blind eye for the sake of the sacred cow of agriculture or reducing pollutants permitted through NPDES permits, state politicians and regulators have had no appetite for protecting our waters. I offer three examples:

    1. Photos of sedimentation going into streams on First Wind’s Sheffield Wind site in 2011. “There are some deficiencies in that area, Mears said. “But none appeared to have resulted in any harm to the waters of the state.” You can judge for yourself:…

    2. In 2009 I gave this testimony to the House Fish, Wildlife and Water Resources Committee about the use of chloramine in drinking water (used by the Champlain Water District) that, in addition to adding the nitrogenous compound ammonium sulfate to the water also increases the use of zinc orthophosphate and other chemicals such as sodium hydroxide:
    “In 2002, two professors of biological sciences at Simon Fraser University in Canada evaluated chloramine’s toxicity for Environment Canada. They found that “the use of chloramine is an unacceptable tradeoff in B.C., where sensitive and biologically productive waterways abound.””

    3. Ten years ago I gave testimony to the House Agriculture Committee about a case involving pesticides going into a stream that flows into Lake Champlain, and also cows housed in the middle of a stream, where public records showed the situation had been ongoing for at least four years.
    “Also in January 2002, the Animal Health Specialist followed up on an Animal Welfare Complaint from a neighbor – not the Tricketts – regarding poor conditions animals are being kept in at the Ochs farm. “I reminded Peter Ochs of my visit during May 1998 and told him that an effort must be made to provide animals an adequate way to get to the feeder when muddy conditions exist. We talked about what would be acceptable to me. I told him mud to the bellies is unacceptable. He asked if mud to the knees would be O.K.?” The memo contains an “Investigators Note” at the bottom: “This complaint was referred to the Plant Industry Section, as the animals were being fed, housed and watered in the middle of a stream. The Plant Industry Section was to follow up on this matter.””

    And yes, I could go on. About IBM’s discharge permit that allows huge quantities of heavy metals to be discharged to the Winooski River (ANR’s response was they aren’t discharging that much so it doesn’t matter that the permit allows them a whole lot more), about what it took to get Omya to stop dumping its chemically-contaminated waste into open pits that leach into groundwater….

    You want to clean up Lake Champlain. Tell DEC and Ag to stop viewing their “customer” as the regulated community whose job is to issue permits to pollute, and stop issuing permits that allow more and more pollutants into the water, and enforce the laws and ask for new laws if you need them, such as making logging AMPs mandatory instead of voluntary.

  • Bruce Post

    Ironic, isn’t it? Our late Vermont U.S. Senator Robert Stafford was a champion of the Clean Water Act and led the successful campaign to override Reagan’s veto of amendments that strengthened that law; today, Vermont is a serious violator of that Act.

    Anyone with a reasonable smattering of knowledge about Vermont’s environmental history knows that, in the 18th and 19th centuries, our hills and mountains were skinned, scalped and otherwise plundered. Here is an interesting comment from the book Migration from Vermont, which chronicled these times:

    “Vermont, it was becoming evident, had never been an agricultural community in the true sense. The people, in obedience to their pioneer necessities, had mined the state rather than cultivated it. Like every other sort of extractive industry there proved to be a limit to this kind of farming.”

    Despite reforestation, we are still dealing with the effects of that past; the sins of the fathers indeed have been visited on the sons – and daughters.

    After an all-too-brief “environmental spring” in the 1960s and into the 1980s, a time when citizen activism resulted in the protection of some of our remaining natural treasures and led to the Act 250 spirit, we seem to have reverted back to the old ways of land abuse. That is bad enough, but our persistent Eco-narcissism makes it all the worse.

    • Jonathan Willson

      Reverting would imply that we at one point left the “old ways of land abuse.” The switch to liquid manure helped spur this, but as some commenters above said, population is playing a huge role too.

      You are dead on when you talk about eco-narcissism. Our water pollution crisis really exposes this.

  • Chet Greenwood

    There are many contributors to the degradation of our lakes. We seem to have a study commission annually to determine what has happened and how can we fix it! The studies all show that agriculture is only a third of the problem and that municipalities, roads, parking lots are a greater contributor. Runoff from residential areas is a major factor.
    The shoreland owner is probably the least polluting of all yet they seem to be the “low hanging fruit” the Legislature goes after. They are the real stewards of our watersheds, and particularly the lakes and ponds. Someone who lives on a tributary a mile from the lake is probably a greater contributor of pollution because they do not see an immediate effect of leachate and/or a faulty leach field draining into the stream.
    If we require farmers to have a buffer then we have to reimburse them (I am not a farmer). Either through VT Land Trust, Current Use, or tax reduction. It would help to have this buffer so we should work with the agriculture community. Ditto for all loggers cutting near streams.
    BTW- Lake Champlain isn’t the only lake in VT -all of our lakes are a valuable resource for the state and cleanup will require annual financial help from the state.

  • Jim Barrett

    It is very obvious the people supposedly working for the state have no clue, they have just squandered millions and millions for nothing…fine job Shumlin/legislature. No wonder people have to work into their eighties to keep up with the bunch!

  • Kai Mikkel Forlie

    “The state would then be required to upgrade the facilities at a huge cost or challenge the regulations in court, according to state Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner David Mears.”

    Isn’t it all too evident by now that our legacy water and wastewater systems have failed us? Accidental releases of millions of gallons of raw or partially treated sewage into rivers and lakes, toxic sludge, contaminated drinking water, massive financial costs to our cash strapped communities simply in maintaining the legacy systems we already have (not including the additional burden to build out new and/or perform upgrades), all examples of this failure. And yet the only two directions that Comm. Mears can offer are “more of the same” or “fight it”. How tragically sad.

    He won’t admit it, but a third alternative exists and its what the folks on Cape Cod are looking to right now. Thanks to overpopulation, compromised geology and a reliance on legacy wastewater systems, the Cape is facing down ground water pollution and nutrient loading in their ocean waters that surround the peninsula. But what Massachusetts seems to have going for it (that Vermont does not) is a dedication to exploring ALL of the options.

    And what is the Cape looking to? Ecological sanitation is what. After all we don’t have to send human excreta (the point source, if you will, for so much of the phosphorous that’s the problem) into a pipe with some water (“cleaned” to drinking water standards) and ultimately back into our surface sources (like Lake Champlain). Its utter madness to entirely overlook what is the future of human excreta management and that is 1) dramatic reductions in the quantities of the pharmaceuticals we ingest, and 2) source separation at the toilet and 3) recycling the nutrients collected back to our farmland. This, and NOT what we’re currently doing, is “closing the loop”.

    From our facebook page:

    …a recent animation that highlights what I am referring to.

    What an insult that the folks who are supposed to be in charge of leading us away from the mistakes of the past are so clearly doing anything but. The time is ripe for a seed change in where and how we source our water, what we allow to mix with it and where we put it when we’re done making use of it. Let’s remove the blinders that are preventing us from implementing lasting solutions (not more band-aids); solutions that will absolutely stand the test of time. Massively expensive and energy intensive centralized options are utter failures and will only grow to be more so as time passes. Lets try something new.

    For those interested in real solutions to our point problems, there’s a bill currently in the House (H.479):

    …as proposed by Rep. Zagar (Barnard, D) that seeks to promote the widespread adoption of ecological toilets and onsite greywater systems. But this timely and important bill is floundering due to a lack of interest from amongst the members of the House Committee on Fish, Wildlife and Water Resources. Contact them. Let them know we have the safe and inexpensive technology at our fingertips that we need to combat the point source dilemma but it will take real change to lay the groundwork that can pull us out of the mess we find ourselves in. Advocate for real solutions or please step aside so that we can tackle these issues head on.

  • Lee Stirling

    I didn’t realize that Vermont was the only state that Lake Champlain touched that may be contributing to its pollution. I guess I missed why this conversation only includes Vermont’s culpability and responsibility for its cleanup.

    • Bruce Post

      Kathryn Flagg wrote an excellent article in the weekly Seven Days on this same topic. Here is the link:

      Please note the comment thread. Kathryn was asked a similar question about the focus on Vermont. Here is what she answered:

      ” … just to clarify a few points on the New York – Vermont division. There are regulations governing phosphorous runoff from the New York side of the lake; the state has its own TMDL, but because it falls under a different region in the EPA, it wasn’t included in the lawsuit which challenged the TMDL in Vermont.

      And while it’s true that Vermont is a small state, it also accounts for far more of the phosphorous heading into Lake Champlain than either New York or Quebec. Between 2001 and 2010, Vermont accounted for 65 percent of the phosphorous “load” that went into Lake Champlain; New York and Quebec contributed 24 and 10 percent, respectively.”

      In other words, Vermont may be small, but when it comes to pollution, it fights well above its weight.

  • Seve Merrill

    Please read more from James Maroney, especially his comments and letters to David Mears, just look up “e-coli in the Lemon Fair River” in the search column at the top of this page..He explains the EPA failures in the “conveyance” from farms right after the CWA, and how we virtually ignore the elephant in the room, the Mega-Dairies and the switch to liquid manure which has been a complete disaster..Look up the report from last spring that said OVER 55% of US rivers are now unable to support ANY kind of aquatic life due to (mostly) phosphorus runoff..I swear we are all clinically insane and Kudo’s to Vt Digger for the ONLY outlet to report Vt.’s e-coli “limits” change from 77/1000 to 235/1000 which makes that “problem” go away while our rivers and lakes die a slow death..It’s REAL bad up here in the “Kingdom”, look out over Newport’s Lake Memphremagog from the Cath. church on the hill after a rain..The WHOLE bay turns coffee colored and combined with their wastewater plant’s outflow into Gardner “Park”, there’s NO ONE who dares to swim in/near it and NO beaches, just a boardwalk along what the locals call the “Sewerfront”..And yet right on the hill above the hospital they spread liquid manure 1″–3″ thick, like cake frosting, that runs right off and into the lake..But PLEASE read Maroney’s comments on the e-coli articles in the Digger Archives, they’re priceless!! Time to think about going organic and/or a return to spreading DRY manure or we’ll just have more and bigger “blooms” every year..Thanks, Steve Merrill, North Troy

    • Kathy Leonard

      Another solution would be for these farms to compost their manure. A large farm in my region began composting manure and this (being in a narrow river valley) took a big load off the river that runs through it.

  • Ok, so we all think we know the answers. We all give our eloquent explanations of what should be done to clean our waterways. We are all bought into the need to “sacrifice” our rights as rural property owners, well, maybe we don’t see the whole picture. Maybe we need to pull back the curtain and take a peek behind the Agenda 21 curtain.

    Watch the short video at the end of the article in the link above.

    Sometimes things are never as they appear. I have known about Agenda 21 for some time now but to talk about something that sounds crazy, always makes the speaker sound crazy. I urge everyone to research this further. There is a huge battle being fought in our country by people who have become aware of this Global takeover of our sovereign rights.

    This next link I post below has a very good overview of the process of Agenda 21. This Agenda is a slow turning wheel but, non the less, it is an Agenda that is moving us in a direction that many people seem to agree with, even tho it is to their own demise. We should all get informed and then take another look at what is happening in our State with all this “Phosphorus” and urban/rural runoff regulation. Once the ball gets rolling on these laws, it will be built upon layer by layer till suddenly we find ourselves conquered by the UN Agenda 21 Globalist Elite Bankers. After all, it’s all about money and control…..for them –

  • Brad Little

    Much here has been well said……..but the bottom line is that human beings are consumers of their environment both historically and presently. At the worst, they do so with a total selfish disregard for impact……at the best , they self regulate or submit to imposed regulation, however, none of us ever stop consuming or completely give up our own “desires.” Even with the best of intentions, our consumption requires a price that slowly takes it’s toll. The politicians, pundits, scientists and other well intentioned folks have never been able to stop the process…… best, we alter it or slow it.

  • Rob Bast

    One of the things noted in this discussion is that we do not have unlimited resources to throw at this problem, so we have to be clever about allocating what resources we do have, to get the biggest reduction for the money.
    With that in mind, I hope that there is recognition that much of the useful expenditure of resource on municipal treatment has been made, and that in general regular operation, these facilities are contributing a very small proportion of the pollution (phosporous in particular) to receiving waters. Getting to the next level of treatment here would be quite expensive, and not contribute significantly to overall improvement. Moreover, in many muncipalities, the costs of water and wastewater are borne by the users, not the general taxpayers, as is the case here in Hinesburg.
    It would be great if legislators considering the measures being considered would consult directly with their constituent municipal W/WW systems administrators to understand what any measures intended to impact municipal systems would actually do.
    Overall, remediation measures should be focused on the greatest contributing sources first.

  • Bill Chaisson

    A few years ago I wrote a couple of articles about phosphorus pollution of Cayuga Lake. We have a lot of farming around here (industrial and otherwise), but in NYS at least farming is much more regulated than suburban land-use practices with regard to the environment.

    The big revelation for me came from a study done by a Cornell professor and his colleagues that showed how organic matter built up on impermeable surfaces (parking lots, gutters, roofs et al.) after normal rain events and then began to break down. Then a gullywasher would come along and sweep it all into the storm drains and thence into the lake. Result: big injection of phosphorus.

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