Burlington, Vermont -- September 28, 2007
Some of Vermont's efforts to fight pollution in Lake Champlain are beginning to pay off. And the congressional delegation has scored more resources that will help monitor the extent to which pollution solutions are working.
For several years Vermont has focused on pollution from stormwater runoff that harms rivers and streams, and ultimately lands in Lake Champlain. Projects such one on Farrell Street, where Potash Brook crosses, have been one remedy. On Friday Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) visited the University of Vermont to announce a National Science Foundation grant that will advance the study of environmental problems in general. Six-point-seven million dollars will go to UVM's EPSCoR program.
Judith Van Houten, a UVM Biology Professor who coordinates the program, said, "We're using cutting edge, state of the art and emerging computer technology that we're developing right here at UVM."
It's technology that might help projects like the one on Farrell Street. The $1 million effort was funded mainly through South Burlington's stormwater utility. It's finally nearing completion after shutting down the street for part of the summer. The work is expected to lead to vast improvements in the water quality of Potash Brook.
Tom DePietro, South Burlington's Stormwater Utility Superintendent, told Channel 3, "There's five different parts to the project. One of the large parts is the culvert replacement you can see here."
A lot of the project is underground, including a device known as a swirl separator that removes much of the sediment from the runoff, and a large treatment pond. Officials expect all of this will remove 80% of the sediment and a significant but unknown quantity of phosphorous and nitrogen contaminants.
Jack Myers, the chief engineer for this cleanup project, compares the results with sewage treatment. advances of thirty years ago. "It's no different from wastewater treatment going back into the 70s," he said, "when we allowed our sewage to flow directly into the lake. And we built these facilities to clean the water. I would equate it to that."
A similar stormwater abatement project is planned at the K-Mart parking lot off Shelburne Road, long known as a major source of urban runoff. The city says it has the money, but planning and permits will take another couple of years before the work begins.
Andy Potter -- WCAX News