Water Quality

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.

The Scott administration wants to reallocation existing revenues to pay for clean water initiatives, but lawmakers are worried the plan could shortchange other state programs.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR/File

A former regulator at the Environmental Protection Agency says budget cuts proposed by President Donald Trump would have a “devastating” impact on efforts to reduce the flow of pollution into Lake Champlain and other Vermont water bodies.

Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

Bennington residents who have been dealing with contaminated water are starting to get frustrated with the state's ability to find a long-term solution to their problem.

Peter Hirschfeld / VPR feil

The U.S. Supreme Court recently decided it will continue to hear a controversial case about which water bodies the Environmental Protection Agency can regulate, even after President Trump asked them to hold off. Vermont is one of eight states that has filed to defend the EPA rule.  

Taylor Dobbs / VPR File

April showers bring hundreds of thousands of gallons of untreated water into Lake Champlain, it turns out.

Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

As lawmakers look to defer again a politically difficult decision on how to pay for a $1 billion clean water initiative, advocates are ramping up pressure to adopt a financing plan before the 2017 legislative session adjourns.

Ric Cengeri / VPR

When it comes to bodies of water, your big boys in Vermont are Lake Champlain, Lake Memphremagog, and the Connecticut River. The rest of the state is pretty much in the watershed of these three. So when it comes to clean water, all of our waterways are interconnected.

Kathleen Masterson / VPR

Sen. Patrick Leahy denounced the president's budget priorities, which would cut funding to environment and health research programs in order to increase defense spending. Leahy says budget cuts at the Environmental Protection Agency would have a direct impact in Vermont.

Young lake trout weren't surviving their first winter in Lake Champlain for decades, but in recent years scientists have noticed a change: baby trout are now surviving in the lake.
Taylor Dobbs / VPR file

A key legislative committee is recommending $31 million in new taxes and fees annually to clean up Lake Champlain and other Vermont water bodies, prompting a swift rebuke from a Republican governor who says the “baffling” proposal will hurt businesses and “make Vermont less affordable.”

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