ACT NO. 199
Groundwater resources; groundwater withdrawal
This act establishes a groundwater withdrawal permitting and reporting program at the agency of natural resources (ANR). Beginning September 1, 2009, any person that withdraws more than 20,000 gallons of groundwater per day over a calendar month at a tract of land or business shall file a groundwater withdrawal report with ANR. On and after July 1, 2010, a permit from ANR shall be required for a new or increased groundwater withdrawal of more than 57,600 gallons for commercial or industrial use at a single tract of land or place of business. Permit applicants shall submit detailed information regarding the proposed groundwater withdrawal. ANR shall review the submitted information and determine whether the withdrawal meets ANR standards and does not adversely affect existing uses, public water systems, wetlands, water resources, or the Vermont water quality standards. Withdrawals for public emergency, domestic use, farming, dairy processing, public water systems, and geothermal heat pumps are exempt from reporting and permitting. An Act 250 permit shall be required for a withdrawal of more than 340,000 gallons of groundwater a day if the withdrawal requires a permit under the new permit program or is a bottled water facility regulated by ANR. Beginning July 1, 2010, a bottled water facility seeking a source permit shall meet the application and notice requirements for a groundwater withdrawal permit. Beginning on the effective date of the act, a source permit issued to a bottled water facility shall be renewed every 10 years.
The act also declares groundwater to be a public trust resource that shall be managed for the benefit of state citizens. The designation of groundwater as a public trust resource shall not be construed to allow a new right of legal action by an individual except to remedy a particularized interest related to water quantity. A groundwater withdrawal is presumed to comply with public trust requirements if used for farming, domestic use, a permitted public water system, a permitted potable water supply, or dairy processing, or is permitted under the new permit program established by this act. A person who obtains a groundwater withdrawal permit shall, for the purposes of the groundwater right of action, be presumed to engage in a reasonable use of groundwater that does not cause unreasonable harm.
A large farm operation that withdraws more than 57,600 gallons of groundwater per day averaged over any 30-consecutive-day period annually shall report estimated groundwater use to the agency of agriculture, food and markets. A milk handler that withdraws more than 57,600 gallons of groundwater per day averaged over any 30-day period also is required to report estimated water use to the agency of agriculture, food and markets.
Effective Date: Upon passage.
The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street