This project was funded by agreement LC00A00394 awarded by the Environmental Protection Agency to the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission in partnership with the Lake Champlain Basin Program. NEIWPCC manages LCBP’s personnel, contract, grant, and budget tasks and provides input on the program’s activities through a partnership with the LCBP Steering Committee. Although the information in this document has been funded wholly or in part by the United States Environmental Protection Agency under agreement LC00A00394 to NEIWPCC, it has not undergone the Agency’s publications review process and therefore viewpoints expressed here may not necessarily reflect the views of the Agency and no official endorsement should be inferred. The viewpoints expressed here do not necessarily represent those of NEIWPCC, the LCBP Steering Committee, or EPA, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or causes constitute endorsement or recommendation for use.
Don't Flush It!
Thanks to a grant from the Lake Champlain Basin Program, GMWEA is producing a series of four informational brochures, to be sent to every city and town in Vermont. Delivered to ratepayers with water/sewer or property tax bills, the brochures – along with website/blog postings and other media coverage – will inform Vermont households about how to reduce their outputs of ecosystem-damaging chemicals/materials and how to dispose of them properly.
We invite all Vermont municipalities and nonprofit organizations to help put the brochure into the hands of residents -- see FAQs below for details. Simply by changing the way they use their wastewater systems, all Vermonters can help protect the state's natural waters and reduce their water/sewer costs!
The first three brochures in the "Don't Flush It!" series are now available! 5,000 printed copies of the third brochure, "Lawn & Garden Poisons!" are now available, free, to participating towns in March, 2020! Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to request copies!
Just released! "Volume 3: LAWN & GARDEN POISONS!" offers tips for limiting your household's contribution of pesticides and chemical fertilizers -- which can run off your property, endangering human health and causing death and deformity in wildlife. Lots of great advice and links to more strategies to safely control every problematic critter and plant. To download a print-ready PDF of "LAWN & GARDEN POISONS!",CLICK HERE.
"Volume 1: CLOGGERS!" is a guide to saving money and hassle, and protecting the environment, by knowing what NOT to flush, pour, or spill into your private septic tank or municipal sewer system -- fats, oils, greases, and various paper and plastic materials that clog pipes and impair system performance. To download a print-ready PDF of "CLOGGERS!", CLICK HERE.
"Volume 2: DRUGS!" details the harmful impacts on both human and ecosystem health of flushing or pouring out medications of any kind, and provides advice for safe disposal. It also notes the risks of personal care products (PCPs) -- consumer products for body care and comfort that contain unnatural chemicals -- and suggests ways people can minimize their water pollution impact. To download a print-ready PDF of "DRUGS!",CLICK HERE.
The brochures are produced with graphics designs created by Castleton University's Content Lab and technical advice from many expert contributors.
Why this information is important:
Most of us are familiar with the damaging effects of phosphate pollution and e. coli contamination in Vermont’s lakes. Unfortunately, our contribution of pollutants doesn’t end there. The typical Vermont household flushes, pours, spills, or spreads a wide range of other harmful materials and chemicals:
In homes with private septic systems, these contaminants impair system effectiveness and enter groundwater flow; also, when private septic tanks are pumped, the material is often taken to a municipal plant for treatment (see following).
Homes on town/city sewers release these contaminants directly to the inflows of their public wastewater treatment facilities. The FOGs and solid materials cause blockages, requiring repairs and costing taxpayers money. Many of the harmful chemicals cannot be detected or removed by facilities, so too many end up – invisible, but damaging – in our natural waters.
The only remedy is to prevent them from entering the water in the first place. That means we, as individuals, need to learn what NOT to allow into our wastewater (and stormwater), and how to properly dispose of pollutants.
GMWEA invites all Vermont municipalities and solid waste districts to participate by helping distribute the brochures! These FAQs explain how it works:
Q: How much does it cost?
A: It's free! GMWEA will supply the graphic layouts for brochures without charge. Each municipality will need to pay for printing the brochures (one standard letter size page, black and white or color) on its office printers or using a local copying service. (Note: The program budget includes funds for GMWEA to print 20,000 brochures -- 5,000 of each brochure -- for municipalities which wouldn’t otherwise be able to participate. See below.)
Q: What outreach activities and materials will GMWEA provide?
Q: When did the program start? How long will it run?
A: The first brochure and web-available graphics were made available in June, 2019. Since then, scores of cities and towns have printed and distributed the brochures or posted them on websites and bulletin boards. The fourth and final brochure will be available in May, 2020.
Q: How can my town participate?
A: Contact GMWEA executive director Daniel Hecht at email@example.com (802) 595-0997 to learn more and to sign up.
Q: What is expected of participating cities/towns?
Contact GMWEA executive director Daniel Hecht at firstname.lastname@example.org or (802) 595-0997 for more information or to sign up!
GMWEA thanks our fiscal agent for the project, Vermont League of Cities and Towns; the Lake Champlain Basin Program; New England Interstate Pollution Control Council; the U.S. EPA, original source of the funding; and Castleton University's wonderful Content Lab.
89 Main St., Suite 4, Montpelier, VT 05602