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News Releases from Region 01

EPA Seeking Public Comment on Phosphorus Limits for Vermont Segments of Lake Champlain

Contact Information: 
David Deegan (deegan.dave@epa.gov)

BURLINGTON -The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is making available for public comment the Phosphorus Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) for the twelve Vermont segments of Lake Champlain.

Too much phosphorus pollution is reaching Lake Champlain primarily from the streams and rivers draining into it. The primary concern is polluted runoff - rainwater or snowmelt that drains off of parking lots, roads and streets, logging roads, farm fields and croplands, and lawns. The runoff carries pollutants - sediment, nutrients such as phosphorus that are naturally present in soils, pet and animal wastes, fertilizers, and other pollutants - and deposits these pollutants into streams and rivers or directly into Lake Champlain. Phosphorus concentrations have not decreased significantly in any areas of Lake Champlain, despite reductions in the amount of phosphorus entering the Lake from several of its tributaries. Long-term trends since 1990 indicate that phosphorus concentrations in several segments continue to increase.

A Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) is an important management tool that can help resource agencies determine where to focus their management efforts. A TMDL is a calculation of the loading capacity - or the maximum amount of a pollutant that a body of water can be expected to handle, while safely meeting established water quality standards. EPA has prepared the phosphorus TMDLs for the 12 Vermont segments of Lake Champlain in close cooperation with the Vermont Dept. of Environmental Conservation and the Vermont Agency of Agriculture Food and Markets.

EPA, the Department of Environmental Conservation and the Agency of Agriculture will jointly conduct public outreach meetings to provide an overview of the TMDL and Vermont's implementation plan. The meetings will be hosted by the Lake Champlain Basin Program and will take place in the following locations:

Wednesday, August 26, 6-8 pm, Historical Society, St. Albans, VT;
Thursday, August 27, 10-12, Doubletree Hotel, Burlington, VT; and
Thursday, August 27, 2-4, Rutland Free Library, Rutland, VT.

Copies of the Lake Champlain TMDL may be obtained on-line at www.epa.gov/tmdl/lake-champlain-phosphorous-tmdl-commitment-clean-water or by requesting a copy from the contact listed below.

The public comment period runs until September 15, 2015. Comments may be submitted via the US Mail or by email to the contact listed below. Copies of the documents listed in the "References" section of the TMDL may also be obtained from the contact below. Following the close of the comment period, the Regional Administrator will issue a final decision and transmit the final TMDL to the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, Department of Environmental Conservation, for incorporation in the Department's Water Quality Management Plan.

For further information or to submit comments please contact:

Stephen Perkins, Lake Champlain TMDL Project Manager
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 1 - New England
5 Post Office Square, Suite 100
Mail Code OEP06-3
Boston, MA 02109-3912
Phone: (617) 918-1501 Email: perkins.stephen@epa.gov

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