Water Resources Team to Seek Public Input through Webinar, Meetings with NPAs, Nonprofits, Public Agencies
Burlington, VT – June 1, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — The City of Burlington will implement the public outreach phase of a plan to improve water quality through a new, integrated planning approach for wastewater and stormwater management in Burlington. The City’s Water Resource Division will be seeking public input on its upcoming water quality efforts by attending Neighborhood Planning Assemblies (NPAs) and meeting with nonprofit organizations and other public agencies to learn how Burlingtonians would like to see their stormwater and wastewater utility fees spent in the fight for improved water quality.
“We need to be very strategic in how we proceed from here,” said Laurie Adams, Department of Public Works (DPW) Assistant Director for Water Quality. “We must ensure that each project we pursue – wastewater, stormwater, stream improvement, or other – will give us the best results, the biggest bang for the buck.”
Last fall, during a visit to Vermont by United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy, the EPA announced that it would be funding consulting services for the City by Tetra Tech, an environmental consulting firm that has assisted with previous State of Vermont Lake Champlain phosphorous studies. Tetra Tech will be working with City staff to develop methods for evaluating new stormwater and wastewater projects. More specifically, Tetra Tech will help the City water team identify and refine review criteria used by the City to judge the merits of new project proposals. Examples of review criteria include: determining the cost per pound of pollutant removed or treated; and evaluating the side benefits to a project, such as provision of additional green space, reduced greenhouse gases, flood abatement, or improved neighborhood aesthetics.
In years past, the City has devoted considerable resources to treating wastewater from three sewage plants, collecting stormwater to prevent flooding, and implementing a variety of stormwater pollution reduction measures. With much additional effort needed to improve water quality, members of the Water Resource Division are working to ensure the most effective targeting of water quality improvement projects with limited environmental programs funds to maximize benefits to the lake and its tributaries.
As part of this targeting effort, the public is being invited to weigh in on proposed projects and the project evaluation criteria. A series of community outreach and input sessions with NPAs, nonprofit organizations, public agencies, and other interested parties will begin in June. Also, the public will have the opportunity to participate in a webinar on June 4 that will explain the water quality improvement goals and the opportunity for public input. Other outreach events, including an online survey to capture additional citizen input, are scheduled throughout the remainder of the year.
Results from the public input process will be reviewed and further refined by the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation and regional EPA officials, and eventually will be used by DPW staff charged with managing Burlington’s wastewater and stormwater infrastructure.
“We invite our community members to get involved in this process, to let us know what they believe are the most important considerations in spending money on water quality projects,” said Megan Moir, DPW Stormwater Program Manager. “We look forward to hosting the webinar when we’ll review this process in some detail to give people a full picture of where we are, and where we want to go.” The webinar will be recorded and made available on the website below for archived viewing as well.
To register for the June 4 webinar, to obtain a schedule of upcoming events, and to learn more information about the integrated stormwater and wastewater approach under development in Burlington, please visit: http://www.burlingtonvt.gov/DPW/Stormwater/IMSWP.
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Contact: Megan Moir
mmoir (at) burlingtonvt (dot) gov