89 Main St., Suite 4, Montpelier, VT 05602
Vermont Water-wise Communities Initiative
GMWEA seeks the participation of all Vermont towns and cities in an exciting new project, the Vermont Water-wise Communities Initiative (VWCI).
Funded by a $9,860 grant from the Lake Champlain Basin Program, the VWCI will inform Vermont citizens about how they can reduce pollution in Vermont’s natural waters, including Lake Champlain.
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 fibrous 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 citizens need to learn what NOT to allow into our wastewater (and stormwater) and how to properly dispose of pollutants.
Thanks to the LCBP grant, GMWEA is now developing a series of four informational brochures, to be sent to every city and town in Vermont. Delivered to ratepayers with water/sewer 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.
During March, 2019, GMWEA will be contacting all Vermont municipalities to solicit their participation.
Q: How much does it cost?
A: 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 12,000 brochures for municipalities which wouldn’t otherwise be able to participate.)
Q: What outreach activities and materials will GMWEA provide?
Q: When does the program start? How long will it run?
A: We expect the first brochure and webpage to be ready for distribution in May, 2019. With brochures distributed quarterly, the program will finish in early 2020.
Q: How can my town participate?
A: Contact GMWEA executive director Daniel Hecht at firstname.lastname@example.org (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 email@example.com 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; and the U.S. EPA, original source of the funding.