Water Quality

Clockwise from top left: Lisa Rathke, AP; Andy Duback, AP; Nina Keck, VPR; Jacquelyn Martin, AP; Angela Evancie, VPR.

It's been quite a year. In the final days of 2016, we're reflecting on some of the biggest news stories of the year and looking toward what's next in 2017.

Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

The president of Saint-Gobain says his company might not be responsible for the water contamination in Bennington County.

Officials lifted a boil water notice Friday morning for the towns of Addison, Bridport and Shoreham. The Tri-Town water system's 1,600 customers were advised to boil their water on Monday, Dec. 19 after three separate incidents led officials to believe the system may have been contaminated by groundwater.

Governor-elect Phil Scott says he'll continue the work of the outgoing Shumlin administration to reach a settlement with the company that contaminated drinking water in Bennington County.

Taylor Dobbs / VPR File

The incoming leader of Vermont's environmental agency says there is one factor that has made water quality issues more complicated over the years: climate change.

Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR file

A legislative committee has permanently set Vermont's safe drinking water standard for the chemicals PFOA and PFOS at 20 parts per trillion.

Environmental watchdogs say they’re heartened by Governor-elect Phil Scott’s pick to lead the Agency of Natural Resources, but that it’s too early to discern whether the incoming Republican administration is serious about cleaning up Lake Champlain and tackling some of the other major environmental issues facing Vermont.

The Vermont Clean Water Act will hold more than 1,000 properties across the state to stricter stormwater standards, but environmental advocates say the Scott administration is trying to undermine some key provisions.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR/File

Next month, Vermont Treasurer Beth Pearce will unveil a much-anticipated legislative report that will tell lawmakers how to raise the $1.3 billion needed to clean up Lake Champlain and other polluted waterways. And Governor-elect Phil Scott may soon find himself at odds with Democrats — and environmental advocates — over how to come up with the money.

The Department of Environmental Conservation has uncovered new sources of PFOA and PFOS, two hazardous chemicals that were used in manufacturing.

Blue green algae, like this seen on the shores of Lake Champlain, blooms in the summer due to nutrient pollution in the lake.
Courtesy / Lake Champlain International

State officials identified a potentially toxic bloom of cyanobacteria – also known as blue-green algae – in Mallets Bay earlier this week, after they had stopped monitoring the lake for the blooms for the season.

Rebecca Sananes / VPR

Under new federal legislation, the Environmental Protection Agency will work to deepen its understanding of 10 chemicals in commercial use. Topping that list is 1,4-dioxane, which has also been found in drinking water in a Hanover, New Hampshire, neighborhood. 

Plastic today is everywhere: in our bottles and cell phones, our grocery bags, and our trash. Some plastic garbage is so small, it's impossible to see with the naked eye: tiny microbeads, which have been banned from some products because of their environmental impact. WNPR met up with a group of scientists who are looking for them, in an effort to determine how many are in the water off Connecticut's coast.

Rebecca Sananes / VPR

As residents of a Hanover, New Hampshire neighborhood grapple with a contamination caused by Dartmouth College, the school is providing more information about the health hazards of the chemical released.

Rebecca Sananes / VPR

A Hanover family whose drinking water was contaminated by a Dartmouth College hazardous waste burial site is now threatening to sue. The Higgins family is giving the college 90 days to relocate them.

Next year, lawmakers will wrestle with one of the biggest financial challenges in state history, when they have to decide how to raise the estimated $1.3 billion needed to improve water quality across Vermont.

Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

A lack of summer rains has some municipal water system operators worried about their systems running dry. And a few towns are taking steps to lower consumption until we get more rain.

Rebecca Sananes / VPR

A third private property in a Hanover neighborhood has tested positive for a chemical released from a former Dartmouth hazardous waste burial site.

Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

Talks with the company that contaminated more than 250 private wells in Bennington have broken down. And state officials say they're ready to introduce legislation in Montpelier to address the water crisis in southwestern Vermont.

Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

The state now says it will pay for the engineering plans to extend municipal waterlines to homes in Bennington contaminated with PFOA.

Environmental Working Group

The carcinogen often referred to as the "Erin Brockovich chemical" is present in about two-thirds of the drinking water across the country, according to water testing data from the Environmental Protection Agency.

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