Lake Champlain

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.

Ten thousand gallons of raw sewage flowed from a manhole in Shelburne and eventually into the LaPlatte River on Thursday night and Friday morning, according to a report from city officials.

The LaPlatte River flows into Lake Champlain's Shelburne Bay.

The overflow was caused by a failure in the power supply of a computer in the pump station that’s supposed to monitor the station’s systems and turn the pump on and off as necessary, according to Shelburne wastewater superintendent Chris Robinson.

fotoguy22 / iStock

A newly released study by the U.S. Department of Energy found that a proposed $1.2 billion power transmission line under Lake Champlain would have very little effect on the surrounding environment.

fotoguy22 / iStock

A power line developer has offered Vermont millions of dollars to lower electricity bills and to clean up Lake Champlain. State officials like the potential windfall, but they say it won’t get in the way of a vigorous review of the project.

Angela Evancie / VPR/file

Strange. Weird. Bizarre. Lawmakers, pundits and lobbyists have used all these words, and more, to describe the past 18 weeks in Montpelier. Amid all the drama, however, the Legislature managed to get some work done.

Angela Evancie / VPR/file

A bill lawmakers say will reduce pollution in Lake Champlain and other Vermont waterways is on its way to the governor’s desk. Supporters call the legislation an overdue attempt to improve water quality. But critics worry the funding source could harm the economy.

Angela Evancie / VPR/file

Anyone who owns property in Vermont could soon be on the hook for helping to clean up Lake Champlain and other bodies of water.

Ric Cengeri / VPR/file

The House has passed a Clean Water Bill that would raise $8 million in new revenues for fiscal year 2016 to be paid into a new Clean Water Fund. This would help hire 20 new staff members to implement the state's water quality plan.