Water Quality

Vermont Department of Health

Last week cyanobacteria, commonly known as blue-green algae, showed up in blooms that closed beaches on Lake Champlain and Lake Carmi, disappointing swimmers looking for relief from the late September swelter. But more than an inconvenience, it also posed health concerns for people and pets who might come into contact with the bacteria.

What is Vermont doing to prevent these blooms from happening? We asked Julie Moore, Vermont's Secretary of the Agency of Natural Resources.

A Norwich home on Turnpike Road is inaccessible by road after its bridge and culvert were destroyed.
Rebecca Sananes / VPR

Even before Tropical Storm Harvey and Hurricane Irma hit, the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) was in trouble — to the tune of $25 billion. And the program is set to expire at the end of the month if Congress doesn't act.

The Vermont Air National Guard announced it has discovered PFCs in a private water well near its airport base.
Jtasphoto / iStock

The Vermont Air National Guard announced it has discovered elevated levels of Perfluorinated Compounds, also known as PFCs, in a private drinking water well near the guard base at Burlington International Airport, in South Burlington.

The state has asked the Bennington Superior Court to approve the agreement that it reached with Saint-Gobain over water that's contaminated with the industrial chemical PFOA.

Beachgoers enjoy a summer day at Lake Willoughby's clothing-optional Southwest Cove. Many regulars here feel changes proposed by the state could spoil this secluded getaway.
Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

The Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation has some changes planned for the trails and beaches at the south end of Lake Willoughby. But not everyone believes those changes will be improvements.

Clean water advocates paddled the North Branch River in Montpelier Thursday morning to urge lawmakers and Gov. Phil Scott to pump more money into pollution-reduction initiatives.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

Clean water advocates took to the North Branch River in downtown Montpelier Thursday to push for long-term funding for pollution-reduction measures.

Farms in two of four "priority" watersheds have exceeded targets for water pollution reductions, but officials say there's still pressure to improve on those reductions for the health of Lake Champlain.
ands456 / iStock

Officials at the U.S. Department of Agriculture say farmers in Vermont are making better-than-expected progress in reducing the amount of phosphorus flowing into two of four “priority” parts of Lake Champlain.

Rutland is one of more than a dozen Vermont municipalities with a combined sewer system. When the city's water treatment system is overloaded, untreated sewage and runoff flows out of this pipe into a local creek.
Taylor Dobbs / VPR File

Since the beginning of August, hundreds of thousands of gallons of untreated sewage and stormwater have flowed into Lake Champlain and creeks that flow into it, according to public reports.

State officials hope that Clean Water Week, which starts on Aug. 21, will celebrate Vermont waterways and the efforts underway to clean them up.
Ric Cengeri / VPR/file

The health of Lake Champlain and all the waterways in Vermont is a year-round concern. Gov. Phil Scott and other state officials want to drive that point home by officially kicking off Vermont Clean Water Week.

Over a year ago, residents near Merrimack, New Hampshire learned their drinking water had been contaminated by emissions from a plastics plant owned by the multinational company, Saint-Gobain.  

More than a year later, some residents in Merrimack say state and federal officials haven’t done enough to protect them from the contamination. Now, a few are taking things into their own hands, going door to door.

A new study shows that even a small amount of development around a lake can put the body of water at risk of salinization.
Wilson Ring / Associated Press

Here in the north country, we spread a lot of salt on our roadways to melt the ice that causes hazardous winter driving conditions. But that salt has to go somewhere.  Flora Krivak-Tetley, a PhD student in Biology at Dartmouth College, is part of a group of researchers with the Global Lake Ecological Observatory Network that has been taking a look at how salt is affecting waterbodies from Maine to the Midwest.

Longtime clean water advocate and liberal firebrand James Ehlers is running for governor in 2018, when he hopes to unseat Republican incumbent Phil Scott in a race that will feature stark ideological contrasts between the two candidates.

The Connecticut River springs to life in Pittsburg, New Hampshire, just a few hundred yards from the Canadian border. From there, it snakes 400 or miles southward, where it discharges into the Long Island Sound. This month, a group of river-lovers are paddling the length of the Connecticut to highlight its history, importance and beauty.

The company that contaminated about 270 private wells in Bennington has dropped its pending lawsuits against the state over Vermont's safe drinking water standard for PFOA.

Gov. Phil Scott announced Tuesday that the state has reached a settlement with the company Saint-Gobain over the water contamination in Bennington.

As top environmental officials from Quebec and New York looked on, Gov. Phil Scott signed a letter committing to reduce pollution in Lake Champlain as part of an inter-state and international effort.
Taylor Dobbs / VPR

Officials from Vermont, New York, Quebec and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency all committed to combine their efforts to reduce pollution in Lake Champlain on Monday in the first updated pollution management plan since 2010.

Jim Wieck, far right, a hydrogeologist and senior project manager overseeing the Rennie Farm cleanup, talks to residents about the pump and treat system at the former Dartmouth College burial site.
Rebecca Sananes / VPR

The remediation system cleaning up a Hanover neighborhood’s chemically contaminated groundwater appears to be working.

Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont wastewater plants along the Connecticut River are waiting to hear from the Environmental Protection Agency. Even without specifics, managers at the larger plants know they will be required to adjust the amount of nitrogen in their treated wastewater, considerably lowering the levels, potentially at a high cost.

By the end of the year, the Environmental Protection Agency is expected to announce new limits on the amount of nitrogen that wastewater treatment plants in Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire can release into the Connecticut River.

Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

For the past few years, there has been a showdown over conflicting uses of central Vermont’s Berlin Pond. Now, state and local officials are working on finding a compromise.

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