October 16, 2019
MONTPELIER – The Agency of Natural Resources Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced today that Okemo Village Owners’ Association, Inc., a condominium association operating a public community drinking water system in the Town of Ludlow, was fined $19,125 for failing to comply with Vermont Water Supply Rules after detecting uranium and lead contaminants in the drinking water system.
Many Vermonters use public community water systems for safe, reliable drinking water. Owners of public community water systems – systems that serve at least 15 connections or 25 or more individuals – are responsible for managing and maintaining the system in accordance with Vermont Water Supply Rule. DEC provides support to, and oversight of, systems and requires water quality monitoring to ensure public health is protected. Required quarterly monitoring of the drinking water in the system operated by Okemo Village Owners’ Association, Inc. has regularly measured results above Vermont’s maximum contaminant level for uranium. Additionally, the system’s 2017 monitoring for lead indicated an exceedance of the lead action level, triggering the need for the system to take steps to investigate corrosion within its distribution system. Multiple times the Agency notified the system of its obligation to implement a treatment plan for uranium, to inform system users of the uranium exceedances, and to investigate corrosion in the system. In 2018, as a result of continued failure to address the uranium exceedances, DEC placed the system on a do-not-drink status.
“Managing a public drinking water system – regardless of size – comes with the responsibility to maintain drinking water standards and protect public health,” says Emily Boedecker, DEC Commissioner. “For us, that means taking care of the resource from source to tap and notifying residents of health concerns in a timely manner.”
To resolve the violations, Okemo Village Owners’ Association, Inc. reached an agreement with DEC, through an Assurance of Discontinuance, to install uranium treatment within 18 months, including meeting several interim milestones, and to complete all remaining steps to investigate corrosion in the system within 30 days. The agreement, which was entered as a Court Order by the Vermont Superior Court Environmental Division on October 2, 2019, also requires the owner to pay a $19,125 fine for the violations.
For more information about DEC’s Drinking Water and Groundwater Protection Division, including information for water system owners and a up-to-date sample information for public water systems, visit https://dec.vermont.gov/water/drinking-water.