- Associated Press - Friday, August 14, 2015

Vermont state officials are working on long-term plans to meet pollution reduction goals for Lake Champlain set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Some of the details of the plan:


A TMDL, or Total Maximum Daily Load, is the maximum amount of a pollutant a water body can receive and still meet its water quality standards. It also divides that maximum amount among all the sources that feed the lake. There 12 different watersheds that feed into Lake Champlain from Vermont and each has its own limit.

To meet the EPA goal, Vermont must reduce the TMDL load from the 12 watersheds by 33.8 percent. The reduction targets range from a low of 12.4 percent for Isle LaMotte to 64.3 percent for Missisquoi Bay.

Wastewater treatment plants contribute only an estimated 3 percent to the phosphorous pollution that reaches Lake Champlain. The largest single source is agriculture.


This Vermont Lake Champlain TMDL Phase 1 Implementation Plan was developed by the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources and the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets. Act 64, Vermont’s Clean Water Plan, passed by the Legislature earlier this year and signed by the governor in June gives the state the legal authority and sources of funding to implement the plan.


State and federal officials are promising to help farmers, large and small, as well as municipalities pay for the projects that will be required to meet the goals. Agency of Natural Resources Secretary Deb Markowitz said the plan would be started off with about $10 million. Officials couldn’t estimate the long-term cost, or how those costs would be met, because it will come from a variety of state, federal and private resources.


Some of the projects that would be required to help meet the goal include engineering ditches on rural roads to keep polluted runoff from reaching rivers and streams and larger culverts to prevent erosion.

Farmers would be required to better manage agriculture waste, such as barnyard manure, and manage croplands to reduce erosion and the amount of fertilizer that reaches intended for crops that reaches waterways.

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