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Rutland to receive $7.2 million grant to prevent sewer overflows

Governor Phil Scott and the Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced $29.25 million in grants to improve municipal combined sewer infrastructure and reduce pollution in Vermont’s streams and lakes, on Tuesday, April 2. Rutland will receive $7,201,017 — the largest grant given.

DEC has allocated these funds as grants to 11 Vermont municipalities to prioritize projects that reduce or treat combined sewer overflows (CSOs). The program is funded by American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding and was proposed for this use by the governor and approved by the Legislature.

“Upgrading our water and sewer infrastructure has been a top priority for my team with ARPA dollars,” said Governor Scott. “These investments support economic development, a cleaner environment, and have public health benefits. We will continue to focus on making these critical infrastructure upgrades in communities across the state.”

A combined sewer system collects sewage and stormwater runoff in the same pipe for treatment at a wastewater treatment facility. Stormwater runoff is water that is collected from streets or other hard surfaces during rain and snowstorms.

During small storms, a wastewater treatment facility can treat all the combined sewage and stormwater. However, during larger storms, a combined system may be overwhelmed and the CSO — by design — will release some of this pollution directly into streams and lakes without treatment. This helps to avoid overwhelming wastewater treatment facilities and prevents sewage from backing up into homes and buildings or onto roads but adds water pollution to streams and lakes.

To reduce the amount of pollution entering Vermont’s waterways from CSOs, municipalities are required to meet Vermont’s CSO rules. Because of these untreated discharges, wastewater collection systems are no longer designed this way. The ARPA funding will help municipalities modernize and bring their CSO systems into compliance.

The municipalities of Burlington, Enosburg Falls, Hartford, Middlebury, Montpelier, Newport, Rutland, St. Albans, St. Johnsbury, Vergennes, and Northfield will use these ARPA funds for projects that reduce or eliminate forever the potential for sewer overflow events to occur.

Examples of projects include separating stormwater and wastewater infrastructure, increasing storage within the sewer network, and modifying wastewater treatment facilities to reduce peak flow during wet weather events.

Issued CSO ARPA Funds include:

  1. Rutland: $7,201,017
  2. St. Johnsbury: $5,462,074
  3. Vergennes: $4,304,579
  4. Burlington: $3,294,440
  5. St. Albans: $3,109,795
  6. Montpelier: $1,950,938
  7. North field: $1,519,157
  8. Newport: $784,000
  9. Enosburg: $760,000
  10. Middlebury: $664,000
  11. Hartford: $200,000

Total: $29,250,000.

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