Vermonters voice concerns over wastewater releases

Published: Apr. 5, 2019 at 5:02 PM EDT
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Off of Route 7 in St. Albans is Rewes Drive. Rewes spelled backwards, is sewer and it's where you will find the St. Albans waste water treatment plant.

On Thursday, the plant released more than 1-million gallons of sewage and storm water into Stevens Brook. That waste water will eventually end up downstream and into Lake Champlain.

"It's an issue that affects everyone's lives," resident John Sayer said.

"It is something that is impacting all of us, even if you are in the southern part of the state. Even if you are in the southern part of the state this is impacting your water quality," resident Amy Kapitan said.

At the ECHO Center on Burlington's waterfront, state environmental officials gathered Friday to share ideas for water quality and restoration.

"We need to be careful and not over reacting on the one side with sewer overflows at the expense of the very valuable storm water treatment those systems provide," Vermont Secretary of Natural Resources, Julie Moore said.

Thursday's discharge at the St. Albans plant was the result of a pump malfunction. The release was authorized in order to prevent overflows and stop backups into businesses and homes.

Moore says most of the contaminants that were in the waste water were removed.

"The water was fully-treated at their facility with the exception of disinfection, which is the very final step in the treatment process," Moore said.

Agricultural and storm water runoff from developed land, Moore says, dump far more phosphorous into the lake than treated sewage.