All State Policies: Vermont
Below are short descriptions of relevant state agencies/departments by policy topic, followed by more information on specific policies.
Drinking Water: Vermont’s drinking water is managed by the Agency of Natural Resources’ Department of Environmental Conservation’s Drinking Water and Groundwater Protection Division (DWGWG). The Division is involved in outreach, education, assistance, and regulatory activities, including the administration of the Safe Drinking Water Act. According to the Department of Health and the Environment, 30% of Vermont households access drinking water from private wells, which are not regulated by the EPA or State of Vermont.
Bolstering CWA Protections
An act relating to Vermont standards for issuing a Clean Water Act section 401 certification, VT HB 108 (2021); 10 V.S.A. § 1253
This Act directs the Secretary of the Agency of Natural Resources to administer a ” Clean Water Act Section 401 certification program to review activities that require a federal license or permit to ensure that a proposed activity complies with the Vermont Water
Quality Standards, as well as with any other appropriate requirement of State law, including:
(A) 10 V.S.A. chapter 37 (wetlands protection and water resources management);
(B) 10 V.S.A. chapter 41 (regulation of stream flow);
(C) 10 V.S.A. § 1264 (stormwater management);
(D) 29 V.S.A. chapter 11 (management of lakes and ponds); and
(E) the Agency of Natural Resources Rules for Water Withdrawals for Snowmaking.”
Additionally, the Secretary shall not grant an application for certification under Section 401 of the CWA “unless the applicant demonstrates all of the following:
(A) there is no practicable alternative to the proposed activity that would have a less adverse impact on waters and wetlands of the State and provided that any proposed alternative shall not have other significant adverse human health, safety, or environmental consequences; (B) the proposed activity will not result in the violation of any applicable water quality criteria established in the Vermont Water Quality Standards; and (C) the proposed activity will not result in a violation of the State’s antidegradation policy.”
The Act also directs the Secretary to amend the Vermont Water Quality Standards to include: “(1) An amendment to the Classification of State Waters to clarify that with regard to all Class I and II wetlands, as defined in 10 V.S.A. § 902, the uses to be protected include the functions and values of the wetland as described in Section 5 of the Vermont Wetland Rules.
(2) An amendment to the antidegradation policy to clarify that wetlands and their functions and values shall be protected as described by the Vermont Wetland Rules” along with any additional provisions the Secretary deems necessary related to 10 V.S.A.
July 6, 2020
This Act appropriated $500,000.00 in FY 2021 to the Agency of Natural Resources for engineering and construction grants to improve public water systems with confirmed concentrations of PFAS exceeding 20 nanograms per liter and on a do-not-drink notice.
It also authorized the use of up to $50,000 for “engineering and construction grants related to improvements for public water systems for grants
to reimburse schools that operate public water systems with confirmed concentrations of PFAS exceeding 20 nanograms per liter and on a do-not-drink notice for their costs for providing bottled or bulk water. Requires any monies received from a responsible party in connection with a grant made from the appropriation to be used for future capital construction acts. Creates a new special fund to be administered by the Secretary of Natural Resources to provide grants to public water systems responding to or remediating emerging contaminants in a public water supply.”
SB 49 (Act 21, An act relating to the regulation of polyfluoroalkyl substances in drinking and surface waters)
A summary of the Act is available here. The Act requires all public community water systems and all nontransient noncommunity water systems (water systems) to conduct monitoring for the maximum number of PFAS detectable. If monitoring confirms regulated PFAS contaminants in excess of 20 ppt, the water system needs to implement treatment to reduce PFAS contaminants to below 20 ppt in the drinking water. On or before February 1, 2020, the Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) had to adopt a maximum contaminant level (MCL) for five listed PFAS. ANR will issue a plan for the statewide investigation of potential sources of contamination from PFAS substances and the contamination of PFAS from landfill leachate.
In March of 2020 the Vermont Water Supply Rule was revised to incorporate the PFAS Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) of 20 parts per trillion.