Lake Champlain Phosphorus TMDL Update
By Amanda Gosselin | April 25, 2014 | Featured News
As many of you know, on March 31st, the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation submitted the “EPA Lake Champlain Phosphorus TMDL Vermont Phase 1 Plan”. The complete plan can be found here. The plan focuses on non-point source phosphorus reductions. The cover letter to the EPA from David Mears, Commissioner of VTDEC, explained why reductions in waste load allocations for wastewater treatment facilities are not included in the Phase 1 Plan:
“This draft Phase One Plan does not allocate any phosphorus reductions to wastewater treatment plants in the Lake Champlain Basin. The load associated with these plants is small, approximately three percent, and is dwarfed by other sources. Further, Vermont’s communities and businesses have made substantial progress in reducing phosphorus from these plants over the past four decades and it is increasingly difficult to justify further investments in reducing phosphorus from these sources given the relatively high cost of installing additional phosphorus removal. With optimization of operations to maximize phosphorus removal, these plants should remain a minor source of phosphorus pollution for many years to come without any major new capital investments.”
In an effort to continue to be informed and provide input, A+E has been actively involved in discussions with VTDEC regulators, State legislative committees, EPA and local stakeholders including:
- Reviewed the “Wastewater Treatment Facilities Feasibility Study” prepared by Tetra Tech.
- Met with VTDEC commissioner Mears as well as VTDEC staff in the Watershed Management and Facilities Engineering Division to provide input.
- Attended the Friends of Northern Lake Champlain Missisquoi River Public Caucus in Swanton.
- As part of his role in the Green Mountain Water Environment Association, Wayne has participated in recent testimonies for State legislative committees (House Fish and Game and Natural Resources Committee and the House Institutions Committee) specific to wastewater treatment facility phosphorus contributions to the Lake, the history of phosphorus removal improvements at Vermont wastewater facilities, and relative costs for upgrading facilities to meet a 0.1-0.2 mg/l total phosphorus effluent limit.
Please feel free to contact A+E to learn more about the Lake Champlain Phosphorus TMDL and how it may affect your community.