STATE LAUNCHES RURAL WASTEWATER INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENT PROGRAM
Montpelier, Vt. – A new village wastewater infrastructure program will invest $350,000 to boost rural economic development in Vermont and protect the environment. The Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), in collaboration with other state agencies, federal partners and local organizations, launched a pilot program earlier this month in Wolcott, East Burke and West Burke.
“The Town of Wolcott is very excited to partner with DEC to find wastewater solutions for our Village,” said Linda Martin, Wolcott Town Clerk. “It is paramount to retaining values of existing homes and businesses and to revitalize our village businesses.”
Investing in wastewater infrastructure in village centers protects Vermont’s historic village development patterns and allows villages to treat sewage more effectively, preventing discharges to groundwater and rivers.
"Community wastewater systems keep our villages healthy and economically vibrant for a sustainable future,” said Lynnette Claudon, an engineer for DEC. “This is an exciting opportunity to partner with these villages to find wastewater solutions. We’re looking forward to working with each community to collect the necessary information to decide what feasible, affordable options exist."
The design and installation of rural wastewater infrastructure projects is distinct from that of Vermont’s larger communities. Many villages face significant hurdles, including the high cost of installation compounded by a small user base. This pilot program will help combat obstacles like these by working with towns to collect data and complete preliminary engineering designs for wastewater system improvements. For the more than 150 villages that do not have community wastewater systems, this pilot program is an important step forward. The information gathered during the initial three-year phase can be applied to future rural wastewater infrastructure projects across the state.
“Vermont’s rural communities account for 61 percent of the state’s population,” said Governor Phil Scott. “This pilot project is an important step in working together to ensure residents of these small towns and villages have access to clean, reliable water to ensure safe communities and strong local economies.”
Recognizing the importance of this work in shaping the state’s future, officials from Burke and Wolcott are partnering with the DEC, the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development, the Vermont Department of Health, the Vermont Rural Water Association, Rural Community Assistance Program Solutions, and regional planning commissions to embark on this three-year pilot project. Funding is provided by the Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC) and Regional Engineering Planning Advance grants.
“One Burke is excited to collaborate with the DEC, the NBRC and the town of Burke as we investigate wastewater solutions for East and West Burke villages,” said Desiree Hertz, chair of the One Burke
community group. “Our task force, Village Infrastructure Revitalization stands at the ready to support the work ahead.”
For more information, visit villagewastewatersolutions.vermont.gov