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ACT NO. 154


Stormwater; wastewater treatment plants

This act establishes an agency of natural resources (ANR) stormwater pilot program and amends the planning and operation requirements for wastewater treatment plants. The ANR pilot program established by the act would finance the repair, construction, or upgrade of orphan stormwater systems. An orphan stormwater system is a stormwater system: (1) in a residential subdivision; (2) that operates under an expired stormwater discharge permit; (3) that discharges to an unimpaired water; and (4) for which the original permittee, in the discretion of ANR, is no longer associated with the system. The act also adds a definition of "stormwater system," which includes any control equipment necessary and appurtenant to the collection, transportation, conveyance, pumping, treatment, disposal, and discharge of regulated stormwater runoff. Under the pilot program, state grants would be made available to municipalities for the capital costs of constructing, renovating, or repairing orphan systems. To receive an award, the municipality must agree to become the applicant or co-applicant for the permit, must agree to be responsible for future permitting and system maintenance, and must meet technical and financial criteria established by ANR, including eligibility based on property value, residency, and environmental impact. The act appropriates $600,000.00 to the ANR local community implementation fund for the grants under the orphan stormwater system pilot program. Similarly, the act appropriates $50,000.00 to ANR for implementation and administration of the orphan stormwater system.

This act also requires wastewater treatment plants, upon renewal of their permits, to prepare and implement an operation, management, and emergency response plan for each plant. The operation, management, and emergency response plan would identify elements in the facility that are prone to failure and identify elements that would result in releases of sewage to surface waters if they failed. The plan would also require treatment plants to schedule repairs of problem elements and to prepare an emergency plan to mitigate any spills.

In addition, this act requires ANR to review the compliance history of an applicant for a stormwater discharge permit. The act also limits the use of agricultural land as an offset for stormwater discharges in stormwater-impaired waters and requires ANR to report to the general assembly in 2007 and 2008 regarding implementation of the orphan stormwater system pilot program.

Effective Date: Establishment of the orphan stormwater system program, limitation on the use of agricultural lands as stormwater offsets, and appropriations to ANR for the orphan stormwater system went into effect upon passage of the act. The requirement that water treatment plans develop operation, management, and emergency response plans goes into effect July 1, 2006. The requirement that discharge permits for wastewater treatment plants include a requirement to develop an operation, management, and emergency response plan goes into effect July 1, 2007.

Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont