Groundwater Problems in Vermont

Williston. In one of the state’s fastest growing communities, residents’ taps were running dry because of the increased strain on the groundwater resource from rapid development. Rapid development is also taking its toll on the quality of the water. Two decades ago, residential private drinking wells were so contaminated by solvents and heavy metals from the electronic manufacturing corporation Mitec that wells were closed and residents needed an alternate drinking water supply. Today, this area of Williston is a Superfund site awaiting clean-up, and EPA warns that the groundwater contamination could potentially pollute private and public water supplies serving approximately 1,575 people within 4 miles of the property. VNRC will continue to lobby, litigate and advocate for sustainable future development, restoration and cleanup of polluted waters, and protection of our groundwater resources.

Marshfield. Residents discovered uranium – a naturally radioactive element – in both the public water supply and private wells. Citizens want to know more about the potential deleterious effects this chemical may have on human health and well being and how to properly mitigate them. By accessing, mapping and inventorying groundwater in towns throughout the state, Vermonters will understand the quality and quantity of this precious resource in their backyards.

Milton. High levels of radon – a naturally occurring, potentially cancer-causing radioactive gas – have been detected in private wells. Residents there want a clear understanding of the threat this poses to their drinking water supply and their health. Until the Agency of Natural Resources is dedicated the staff and funding by the State to properly classify aquifers throughout the state, instances of unsafe water will continue to go unchecked.

Randolph. ClearSource is the water bottling company formerly known as Vermont Pure and MicroPack, which draws tens of thousands of gallons of water from the public aquifer for commercial bottling. The level of consumption has degraded a brook that was once trout habitat and area residents have reported springs and wells going dry. Under the new water basin management plan for the White River area, a proposal that could lower the classification of Blaisdell Brook, which is near Clear Source’s springs in Randolph Center, ultimately decreasing protection for the area’s water. VNRC is working to ensure the state’s long-term groundwater resource plan for 17 basins in Vermont are based on hard science and the public’s interest.

Danby. The multinational corporation OMYA pumped 4.5 million liters per day of water out of the public aquifer during the drought several years ago. The result was numerous ponds, wells and springs going dry. The corporation denied responsibility. VNRC supports the state of Vermont adopting sound policies on commercial withdrawals of groundwater.