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Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) Elimination and Abatement

ARPA Funding Overview 

The Governor approved $25 million to help Vermont municipalities fast-track planned sewer overflow abatement projects that will reduce pollution in streams and lakes. CSOs are a public health and environmental concern. Eliminating discharges will improve the water quality of streams and lakes.  The Legislature allocated an initial $10 million from the Governor’s $25 million to support these projects in State Fiscal Year 2022. The remainder will be allocated in State Fiscal Years 2023, 2024 and 2025.  

The Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation will issue grants to municipalities to accelerate CSO elimination projects, allowing these projects to progress on a faster schedule and with more affordability to the ratepayers. The Department of Environmental Conservation will reach out to eligible municipalities to encourage them to apply for the Project Priority List. The Department will also amend the existing Intended Use Plan to include new projects and rank projects for this funding using the existing Municipal Pollution Control Priority System and existing Loan and Grant Framework using the existing Project Priority List application.

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CSOs are overflow points in combined sewer systems that are designed to carry both stormwater and wastewater. Sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs) are overflow points in sewer systems not designed to carry stormwater but suffer from high rates of inflow and infiltration that result in overflows during large storm events. Both CSOs and SSOs are eligible for this funding. 

Projects considered for ARPA support must be proposed in conjunction with the State’s Priority Project List and Intended Use Plan process. Municipalities with existing CSOs and municipalities where CSOs have been abated but additional work remains are eligible for funding. These grants will complement existing local and state funding sources. 

Qualifying projects must be in communities that have an administrative order or NPDES permit that identifies CSO or SSO discharge point(s), and projects must contribute towards CSO or SSO abatement or elimination.   

Equity Considerations

ARPA funds will help disadvantaged communities address the public health and economic crises caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and help protect them from future crises. ARPA funding will be prioritized to help CSO communities. CSO communities carry higher debt burdens than communities that have separate stormwater systems and this creates a hardship for ratepayers and the development of other necessary infrastructure projects.   

The Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation will prioritize inclusion and engagement with under-represented groups to advance environmental justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion through design and delivery. 

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