Lake Champlain

Angela Evancie / VPR File

More than two-thirds of the problematic phosphorus overload in Lake Champlain comes from Vermont. To clean up its act the state recently signed Act 64, the Vermont Clean Water Act. It tackles runoff coming from sources varying from roofs and roads to forests and farms.

There have been a lot of sewage spills lately and the state reports them on a website when it becomes aware of an overflow from a municipal sewage system. But it can be really hard to find out where they are, and the state has no real time alert to let people know when a spill has happened and water might be contaminated.

VPR has been reporting on this problem all summer, so our own web developer Sara Simon got on the case and she's created a twitter bot. It is on Twitter and known as Dirty Water VT.

A paper recycling facility in Sheldon Springs dumped 173,000 gallons of "untreated industrial process wastewater" into the Missisquoi River between Friday, August 14 and Tuesday August 18, according to state records.

Taylor Dobbs / VPR File

State and federal officials announced new pollution reduction targets for Lake Champlain Friday as well as how the state plans to meet those targets.

James Boase / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Every fisherman has a story about the "one that got away." But Chet MacKenzie is dedicated to making sure that this particular species of fish in Lake Champlain doesn't get away – or disappear. 

Potentially toxic cyanobacteria blooms were present up and down Lake Champlain during the last week in July, according to a report from the Lake Champlain Committee. Data from the Vermont Department of Health show that liver toxins were present in St. Albans Bay that week as well.

Wilson Ring / AP

An underwater power line planned for Lake Champlain has won key support from two Vermont state agencies.

Sen. Christopher Bray is backing a per parcel fee on all property in Vermont to help fund water quality projects
courtesy / the Vermont Department of Health

Another summer and more warnings about blue-green algae in Lake Champlain. Also known as cyanobacteria, it confounds lake users and confuses scientists. So what exactly is this stuff? Is it plant or bacterium? And why does it produce toxins sometimes and not others?

BostonTx / Flickr Creative Commons

The city of Burlington closed two popular beaches Monday because of potentially toxic cyanobacteria in the water.

Swimmers were advised to stay out of the water at North Beach and the beach at Leddy Park because of the presence of cyanobacteria, commonly known as blue-green algae.

The bacteria can produce toxins harmful to humans and animals. Large blooms of the bacteria can also lead to major fish kills, as happened in Mississquoi Bay in 2012.

Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

This year Vermont has made water quality a priority, with a particular focus on Lake Champlain. But it’s going to take a lot of boots on the ground to fix runoff problems along all of the rivers and streams that flow into the big lake. One source for this hard labor is the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps.

The Vermont Department of Health reported the year’s first sightings of cyanobacteria (also known as blue-green algae) on Lake Champlain Friday.

Vermont Department of Health

A new state program will monitor and test all 22 drinking water systems that pull water from Lake Champlain, with a focus on detecting blue-green algae blooms.

Angela Evancie / VPR/file

On July 1, the day after Gov. Peter Shumlin proclaimed July “Lakes Appreciation Month,” and just two days before the July 4 weekend, two cities released tens of thousands of gallons of untreated sewage and stormwater into state waterways.

Taylor Dobbs / VPR

A new report from the Lake Champlain Basin Program provides a comprehensive update on an array of indicators of the health of the lake. It shows serious problems remain with phosphorus pollution in the lake and also notes some ongoing successes with regard to invasive species.

Taylor Dobbs / VPR

Enid Letourneau has had a house on Ferrand Road since the 1970s.

Taylor Dobbs / VPR File

Early Monday morning, the St. Albans City sewage system dumped more than a quarter-million gallons of sewage and storm runoff into Stevens Brook, which flows into St. Albans Bay.

Angela Evancie / VPR

From May 30 into June 1, more than a million gallons of sewage and stormwater from the Vergennes sewer system flowed untreated from a pump station into Otter Creek.

Ric Cengeri / VPR/file

There have been 25 sewage discharges in Vermont in the last 35 days. Many of these discharges were what are known as "combined sewage overflows," where a municipal system is legally allowed to release semi-treated sewage into a water body. These overflows typically occur when a system is overwhelmed during a heavy rainstorm, and differ from spills, which are unplanned.

DenisTangneyJr / iStock

Gov. Peter Shumlin signed a new clean water bill into law on Tuesday. In the past, Vermont has focused on cleaning up Lake Champlain, but this legislation targets lakes, rivers and streams throughout the state, including the Connecticut River. And the impact of the law may be felt well beyond the state's borders.

Conservation Law Foundation Senior Attorney Chris Kilian, seen here observing a cyanobacteria bloom on St. Albans Bay in 2014, says state officials are allowing sewage plants to send more phosphorus into Lake Champlain instead of less.
Taylor Dobbs / VPR File

An agreement between the Conservation Law Foundation and TDI New England could bring hundreds of millions of dollars to the Lake Champlain cleanup effort if regulators approve TDI’s proposed New England Clean Power Link project.