Download this document in MS Word format
BILL AS INTRODUCED 2007-2008

AutoFill Template

S.96

Introduced by Senator Lyons of Chittenden District, Senator Ayer of Addison District, Senator Bartlett of Lamoille District, Senator Condos of Chittenden District, Senator Flanagan of Chittenden District, Senator Giard of Addison District, Senator Hartwell of Bennington District, Senator Illuzzi of Essex-Orleans District, Senator MacDonald of Orange District, Senator McCormack of Windsor District, Senator Miller of Chittenden District, Senator Racine of Chittenden District, Senator Shumlin of Windham District, Senator Snelling of Chittenden District and Senator White of Windham District

Referred to Committee on

Date:

Subject:  Conservation; water pollution control

Statement of purpose:  This bill proposes to require the agency of natural resources to reopen the total maximum daily load plan for Lake Champlain as it relates to the waters of Vermont.  The bill would also require that state assistance from funds appropriated to the agency of natural resources and the agency of agriculture, food and markets under the clean and clear action plan be allocated according to a priority order based on the need for phosphorus reduction.  Financial incentives would also be provided for the implementation and operation of a stormwater utility.  The bill would reduce the maximum standard for phosphorus discharged to Lake Champlain from 0.80 milligrams per liter to 0.20 milligrams per liter.  In addition, the bill would delete the provision that municipalities are exempt from the phosphorus discharge standard unless they receive 100 percent of the project costs.  The bill would also require the agency of transportation, after consultation with the agency of natural resources, to develop best management practices (BMPs) for the construction, repair, and maintenance of state and town highways.  The BMPs would address activities which have a potential for causing pollutants to enter the groundwater and waters of the state, including stormwater runoff and direct discharges to state water.  Towns would be required to comply with these BMPs in order to receive state funding for construction, maintenance, and repair of town highways.  The bill would also require the secretary of administration to hire an independent environmental consultant to conduct a program audit of the efficacy of the clean and clear action plan, including an analysis of the state funds appropriated to the agency of natural resources and the agency of agriculture, food and markets under the clean and clear action plan.

AN ACT RELATING TO IMPROVING POLLUTION CONTROL MEASURES FOR LAKE CHAMPLAIN

It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

Sec. 1.  FINDINGS

The general assembly finds that:

(1)  The state is committed to clean water as a key factor in preserving Vermont’s quality of life.

(2)  Lake Champlain is a resource of inestimable value to the state of Vermont and its citizens, and the health of the lake is crucial to the economy, health, and quality of drinking water of many Vermonters.

(3)  The governor and the administration should be applauded for their commitment to accelerate the cleanup of Lake Champlain under the clean and clear action plan developed by the governor’s administration, but evidence clearly indicates that implementation of the clean and clear action plan and implementation of the total maximum daily load (TMDL) for Lake Champlain will not achieve the goal of a clean and clear lake by the governor’s targeted goal of 2009.

(4)  The federal Clean Water Act requires the TMDL for Lake Champlain to provide reasonable assurances that control measures for point source and non-point source pollution will achieve expected reductions in pollutant loads in the lake, but the current control measures under the Lake Champlain TMDL for phosphorus have failed and will not achieve the pollutant load reduction required to meet water quality standards.

(5)  To achieve the goal of the clean and clear action plan of cleaning up Lake Champlain by 2009 and to ensure the health and environmental quality of the lake, the TMDL for Lake Champlain must be reopened to reallocate the pollutant load by reducing allowable point source discharges from publicly owned treatment works, by allocating loads between point source and non‑point source pollution on a subwatershed basis, and by requiring additional non-point source control measures such as animal exclusion in impaired watersheds.

Sec. 2.  10 V.S.A. chapter 47, subchapter 6 is added to read:

Subchapter 6.  Lake Champlain Water Quality

§ 1385.  LAKE CHAMPLAIN TOTAL MAXIMUM DAILY LOAD

(a)  The secretary of natural resources shall reopen the total maximum daily load (TMDL) plan for Lake Champlain as it pertains to the waters of Vermont in order to amend pollutant load allocations within the TMDL in order to reduce point source load allocations and to allocate point source and non-point source load reductions on a subwatershed basis.  The amended TMDL shall be submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as required by 33 U.S.C. § 303.

(b)  In addition to the requirements of subsection (a) of this section, the secretary of natural resources shall amend the Vermont-specific implementation plan of the Lake Champlain TMDL to require reduced pollutant load allocations for publicly owned treatment works and to require point source and non-point source load reductions on a subwatershed basis.  The implementation plan shall include a strategy for identifying and targeting critical source areas for non-point source pollution in each subwatershed.  For the purposes of this subsection, “critical source area” means an area in a watershed with high potential to release phosphorus to surface or subsurface runoff to waters of the state.

Sec. 3.  19 V.S.A. § 996 is added to read:

§ 996.  HIGHWAY CONSTRUCTION, MAINTENANCE, AND REPAIR BEST MANAGEMENT PRACTICES

The agency of transportation, in collaboration with the agency of natural resources, shall adopt by rule best management practices to be followed by the agency of transportation and towns in the construction, maintenance, and repair of state and town highways.  These best management practices shall address activities which have a potential for causing pollutants to enter the groundwater and waters of the state, including stormwater runoff and direct discharges to state waters.  Best management practices shall be practical and cost-effective to implement.


Sec. 4.  19 V.S.A. § 308 is amended to read:

§ 308.  COMPLIANCE WITH PROVISIONS

A town shall not be entitled to receive money from the state under this chapter in any year until it has complied with the provisions of this chapter and the best management practices adopted by the agency under section 996 of this title.

Sec. 5.  10 V.S.A. §§ 1264d and 1264e are added to read:

§ 1264d.  STORMWATER FUNDING

(a)  Unless otherwise statutorily allocated, funds appropriated to the agency of natural resources in each fiscal year for stormwater mitigation shall be allocated to the following watersheds of the state in proportion to the amount of phosphorus reduction required in each watershed:  the Lake Champlain Basin, the Lake Memphremagog Basin, the Connecticut River Basin, and the Hudson River Basin as these boundaries are defined by the state water quality plan prepared by the agency of natural resources.

(b)  State financial assistance allocated to the Lake Champlain watershed under subsection (a) of this section shall be allocated to each subwatershed of the lake in proportion to the amount of phosphorus reduction required in that subwatershed.


§ 1264e.  STORMWATER UTILITY INCENTIVES

With respect to state grants, loans, and other assistance provided by the state from the fund established under subsection 4753(a) of Title 24 and after priority is awarded to growth centers under subsection 2793c(i) of Title 24, priority shall be given in each fiscal year to the creation of a stormwater utility according to the requirements of chapter 105 of Title 24.  Priority funding under this section shall be available for up to 50 percent of the total costs of the first two years of operation of a stormwater utility.

Sec. 6.  10 V.S.A. § 1266a is amended to read:

§ 1266a.  DISCHARGES OF PHOSPHORUS

(a)  No person directly discharging into the drainage basins of Lake Champlain or Lake Memphremagog shall discharge any waste that contains a phosphorus concentration in excess of 0.80 0.20 milligrams per liter on a monthly average basis.  Discharges of less than 200,000 gallons per day, permitted on or before July 1, 1991, shall not be subject to the requirements of this subsection.  Discharges from a municipally owned aerated lagoon type secondary sewage treatment plant in the Lake Memphremagog drainage basin, permitted on or before July 1, 1991 shall not be subject to the requirements of this subsection unless the plant is modified to use a technology other than aerated lagoons.

* * *

(c)  The secretary of natural resources shall establish a schedule for municipalities that requires compliance with this section at a rate that corresponds to the rate at which funds are provided under subsection 1625(e) of this title.  To the extent that funds are not provided to municipalities eligible under that subsection, municipal compliance with this section shall not be required.

Sec. 7.  10 V.S.A. § 1625(e) is amended to read:

(e)  If the department finds that a proposed municipal water pollution control project is necessary to reduce effluent phosphorus concentration or mass loading to the level required in section 1266a of this title, the department shall award to the municipality, subject to the availability of funds, a state assistance grant.  Such grants shall be for 100 percent of the eligible project cost.  This funding shall not be available for phosphorus removal projects where the effluent concentration must be reduced in order to maintain a previously permitted mass loading of phosphorus.

Sec. 8.  6 V.S.A. § 4823 is amended to read:

§ 4823.  PRIORITIES; STATE FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE AWARDS

(a)  Except as provided in subsection (d) of this section, state financial assistance available under this chapter shall in each fiscal year be allocated to the following watersheds of the state in proportion to the amount of phosphorus reduction required in each watershed:  the Lake Champlain Basin, the Lake Memphremagog Basin, the Connecticut River Basin, and the Hudson River Basin as these boundaries are defined by the state water quality plan prepared by the agency of natural resources.

(b)  State financial assistance allocated to the Lake Champlain watershed under subsection (a) of this section shall be allocated to each subwatershed of the lake in proportion to the amount of phosphorus reduction required in that subwatershed.

(c)  Priorities.  State financial assistance available under this subchapter that is not allocated under subsection (a) of this section shall in each fiscal year be allocated according to the following priorities, except as provided by subsection (b)(d) of this section, and as further defined by rule by the secretary:

(1)  First priority shall be given to proposed improvements on individual farms which do not meet AAPs because of physical constraints of a farm site, which are located, in descending order: within the boundaries of the Lake Champlain Basin, the Lake Memphremagog Basin, the Connecticut River Basin, or the Hudson River Basin as these boundaries are defined by the state water quality plan prepared by the agency of natural resources.

(2)  Next priority shall be given to proposed improvements on all other individual farms which are located, in descending order, within the boundaries of the Lake Champlain Basin, the Lake Memphremagog Basin, the Connecticut River Basin, or the Hudson River Basin.

(b)(d)  Exceptions.  The secretary may award financial assistance under this subchapter for improvements on a farm which otherwise would not receive assistance under the priorities established by this section, when the secretary determines a severe condition of nonpoint source waste discharge exists which requires immediate abatement.

Sec. 9.  CLEAN AND CLEAR ACTION PLAN INDEPENDENT AUDIT

On or before January 15, 2008, the secretary of administration shall submit to the house and senate committees on appropriations, the house and senate committees on agriculture, the senate committee on natural resources and energy, and the house committee on fish, wildlife and water resources a program audit of the progress and efficacy of the clean and clear action plan, including a financial analysis of the utilization and spending of funds appropriated to the agency of natural resources and the agency of agriculture, food and markets as part of the clean and clear action plan.  The audit shall be conducted by a qualified, independent environmental consultant or organization with knowledge of the clean water act, state water quality requirements and programs, and the program elements of the clean and clear action plan.


Sec. 10.  AGENCY OF NATURAL RESOURCES STORMWATER

               UTILITY REPORT

The agency of natural resources shall, after holding public hearings and seeking public input, study the feasibility of requiring municipalities to establish utilities for the control of stormwater and the repair and maintenance of stormwater systems.  The agency of natural resources shall report to the house and senate committees on government operations, the senate committee on natural resources and energy, and the house committee on fish, wildlife and water resources with its findings by January 15, 2008.  Prior to reporting to the general assembly, the agency of natural resources shall provide the public with notice of the report and an opportunity for comment, and the summary of notice and comment shall be submitted to the general assembly with the final report.  The report shall include recommendations as to whether the state should require municipalities to establish stormwater utilities and, if so recommended, when such utilities would be required and how such utilities would be funded.

Sec. 11.  EFFECTIVE DATE

(a)  This section and Secs. 1 (findings), 2 (Lake Champlain water quality), 3 (agency of transportation best management practices), 5 (stormwater funding), 8 (agency of agriculture, food and markets water quality assistance), 9 (clean and clear action plan audit), and 10 (agency of natural resources stormwater utility report) shall take effect on July 1, 2007.

(b)  Secs. 4 (municipal compliance with agency of transportation best management practices), 6 (discharge of phosphorus), and 7 (municipal funding of phosphorus projects) shall take effect July 1, 2008.



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us