DEC Seeks Public Input on Water Quality Improvement Plans for Lake Memphremagog Watershed

Lake Memph

Montpelier, Vt. – The Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation is seeking public input on three draft plans being released today to strategically improve water quality in the Lake Memphremagog watershed. A series of public meetings will be held this month to discuss the plans and hear suggestions from citizens.

The waters of Lake Memphremagog are shared with the province of Quebec, but most of the ponds and rivers that feed it are located in Vermont. The watershed includes the Black, Barton and Clyde Rivers, and many lakes and ponds such as Great and Little Hosmer Lakes, Lake Parker, Crystal Lake, Lake Willoughby, Island Pond, Great and Little Averill Ponds, Norton Pond, Holland Pond and Seymour Lake.

To keep these waters in a healthy condition, the State is required to write a pollution control plan known as a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) to set limits on phosphorous pollution being contributed to the lake. The draft TMDL for Lake Memphremagog released today sets a target of 29% reduction in phosphorous flowing off the landscape into the lake. To meet that target, the Department of Environmental Conservation worked with local and regional experts to draft a Tactical Basin Plan, which outlines watershed-specific actions and projects necessary to achieve the target.

A specific part of the TMDL requiring public input is the set of proposed pollution limits for wastewater treatment facilities in the Lake Memphremagog watershed, known as “wasteload allocations.”  The wasteload allocation is intended to fairly and equitably apportion allowable levels of phosphorus pollution among wastewater treatment plants in as cost-effective a manner as practical.

Citizens are encouraged to attend one of the following public hearings for a presentation and the opportunity to provide comments and suggestions on projects that impact the waters they enjoy:

• Monday, May 22: Newport
6:30pm at Emory Hebard Office Building, 100 Maine Street, Room 250

• Tuesday, May 30: Brighton
7:00pm at Brighton Town Hall, 49 Mill Street Ext.

• Wednesday, May 31: Craftsbury
6:30pm at Sterling College, Common House, 16 Sterling Drive

Public comments on the plans will be accepted until close of business on June 16, 2017.

To view a copy of draft TMDL and tactical basin plan, go to http://dec.vermont.gov/watershed/map/basin-planning/basin17, or request a copy from Ben Copans at ben.copans@vermont.gov  or (802) 751-2610. 

Public comments can be directed to Ben Copans by e-mail or by mail at the following address:
374 Emerson Falls Road, Suite 4
St. Johnsbury VT 05819

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