State imposes costly 3-acre runoff rule, while sewer overflow gets pass

By Guy Page

Vermont landowners of three or more acres of impervious surfaces must plan and pay for phosphorus runoff reduction, the state of Vermont announced Sept. 1.

complete list of all affected landowners statewide has been published by the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation. It includes not only businesses but schools, not-for-profits, and municipalities.

“The permit requires landowners with more than three acres of ‘impervious surfaces’ such as roofs, driveways and parking areas, to develop and implement projects to treat runoff to remove phosphorus, sediment, and other pollutants,” an Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) Sept. 1 press release says.

Wikimedia Commons/Christian Fischer

Municipal septic overflows partly responsible for cyanobacteria will be made worse if the current version of H.926, Act 250 reform, is approved, critics say. Meanwhile the State of Vermont has announced all landowners with three or more acres of impervious surfaces (roofs, driveways, parking lots) must pay for expensive upgrades to prevent phosphorus runoff.

While virtually all Vermonters agree that phosphorus runoff causes heavy pollution in Lake Champlain and other state waters, the potentially ruinous costs required by the 3-acre runoff rule will force businesses to close, raise taxes and consumer costs, and stifle economic development, critics like Pittsford farmer and businessman and GOP House candidate Dave Soulia say. In a news article appearing on Soulia’s website FYI.VT, DEC Stormwater Manager Padraic Monks said Rutland County compliance alone would cost about $300 million.

The U.S. EPA has insisted for years that Vermont clean up Lake Champlain. A 2017 state law aimed at satisfying the EPA prevented federal action, but Uncle Sam’s patience has worn thin. Failing to impose the 3-acre rule would put Vermont out of EPA compliance, so Vermont in effect had no choice, Vermont officials say. The planning process allows several years and ANR has pledged some planning and financial support.

Still, ANR’s concession to the EPA leaves landowners holding the big, stinky, expensive bag, Terry Williams, a GOP candidate for Rutland Senate told supporters in an email this morning:

We all want clean water and a clean environment, but if you think that this isn’t going to affect you, think again. Look at the municipalities and schools that are listed here. It’s going to cost the property owner big time. And, there aren’t enough engineer firms to do all of these site plans in Vermont to get the required plans done by the end date. In the meantime, the City of Burlington and others, continues to dump millions of gallons of raw sewage into Lake Champlain when there is significant rain event. Maybe it’s time to get our senators Leahy and Sanders and Congressman Welch to do their jobs and put in a bill to have new sewage plants built that can alleviate the problem?  After all, the ones that we have are 55 years old.

On the subject of municipal sewer failures, pro-business conservatives like Williams find common cause with many Vermont environmentalists.

According to state of Vermont statistics provided by clean water activist James Ehlers, municipal sewer overflows are a major contributor to a reported 170 spills dumping more than 11 million gallons of sewage and polluted water into Vermont waters this year. When asked at a recent press conference about municipal septic systems dumping pollutants into Lake Champlain, Gov. Phil Scott conceded the seriousness of the problem but said extreme weather from climate change is partly responsible, and that sewer upgrades are difficult to permit and very costly.

Persistent municipal wastewater overflows are driving clean water advocates’ opposition to Act 250 reform. H,926, the revision of Vermont’s landmark 1970 planning and development law, limits rural development but ‘streamlines’ development in selected downtown areas, including water and sewer hookups for new projects. Opponents say that in the guise of protecting the Vermont environment, H926 would actually aid and abet degradation of Vermont waters.

We are now, for the year, at 175 diversions of human waste mixed with gutter contaminants into our drinking water supplies and recreational waters … with more rain on the way,” Ehlers wrote on a recent Facebook post. “The Senate is poised–right now–to make this problem even worse by loosening oversight on polluters when they vote on H.926.”

Read more of Guy Page’s reports. Vermont Daily is sponsored by True North Media.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Christian Fischer
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6 thoughts on “State imposes costly 3-acre runoff rule, while sewer overflow gets pass

  1. I hate to say it but this is the kind of government overreach, controls that can be expected in a socialist state. Many towns have been adopting controls over the population without so much as an objection from the population via zoning and planning. When the control freaks in office discovered they could do anything at both the state and local levels, they decided to throw the book at Vermonters using the standard playbook…fear.

  2. Given the number of problems that this state has created for itself, and since the legislature has brought about these problems by an unrelenting lack of prudence, we cannot allow another session of Democrat and Progressive Party dominance. If we cannot elect Republicans in sufficient numbers this year, we are destined to have another session of Groupthink to the devastation of Vermont.

  3. Words cannot describe. Idiots run the State. The costs of this for private owners, businesses and individuals, will be crushing…to comply. BUT? WHO is the biggest polluter of storm water runoff? The “State of Vermont” is! SUE THEM!. Vermont has just over 6,000 of paved BLACKTOP roads. ALL of them are getting massive amouts of sand, salt and chemicals poured on them in the winter…Public safety comes first. PLUS! MANY of the biggest highways run directly adjacent to major, major rivers…and all that runoff from STATE BLACKTOP runs directly into these rivers….and much directly in to Lake Champlain! Just look at Rt. 89, Rt.91 and Rt.2! Why is it that in Vermont…always….’You Can’t Fix Stupid” 🙂

  4. This is following the United Nations plan for Vermont, whereby they take over all property use by regulation, this has nothing to do with cleaning up Vermont.

    This is implemented by VNRC and VPIRG, two organization that nobody votes for but holds more sway in Montpelier than any political party. They are lobbyists hiding undercover of a non-profit. They get their lobbyists and staff working within Montpelier, it’s a revolving door of corruption and influence.

    Agenda 21….

    Rosa says it well, here’s a video link to her.

    https://greenmountainparty.com/vermont-is-not-inventing-our-zoning/

    This was all put into action by none other than Bushy senior, I can’t take my vote back, but he’s clearly selling out our country, just like the NWO pimps that followed him.

    • Hi Neil.. you got it, as usual.
      Ask yourself this question.
      Just who are they evacuating out the state for?
      The Chinese?
      Because there is not a single Native Vermonter who’s family will be able to stay in the state and not live in real poverty- and this pretty much NOW, not off in the distant future.

      I would say this move will be the final nail in the coffin of the struggling Dairy Farmers.
      What few major businesses you have left in large buildings will all leave too.
      There are states now begging for them to re-locate there, why on earth would they want to stay in Vermont and try to survive existing in a Police State?

  5. This has been ongoing for years but nobody saw it coming?
    It’s a case of pay me now or pay more later.

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