Updates about how roadways will be affected by 2015 Vermont Clean Water Act.
Roads and the VT Clean Water Act
The Legislature passed the Vermont Clean Water Act (CWA) in Spring 2015 and details regarding its implementation are becoming available over time.  It takes an "all in" approach and requires that everyone has a role to play to achieve clean water goals in Vermont.  The CWA applies across Vermont, not just the Lake Champlain basin.

Our August Technical Bulletin summarized all the main elements of the Clean Water Act.  This Roads and Water Quality Technical Bulletin focuses on our transportation network and how it will be affected by the CWA. 
Municipal Roads General Permit
Municipalities will be required under this Act to obtain a Municipal Roads General Permit. A draft of the permit will be available for public review and comment during 2017. A final permit will be issued in 2018.  Towns will apply for coverage starting in 2018. 

As part of the General Permit, towns will develop a Road Stormwater Management Plan, which will contain an inventory of town roads, a prioritization of hydrologically-connected road segments, and an implementation schedule. Towns will have the first 5 years of their permit coverage to develop the plan and implementation can be phased over 20 years. 
The Road Stormwater Management Plan will include an implementation plan of roadway-related projects that will improve water quality, such as:
  • Regrading roads to establish an adequate crown;
  • Installing stone-lined ditches or check dams; or
  • Upgrading a culvert, installing headers and stabilizing the outlet
As discussed above, a Road Stormwater Management Plan will include an inventory of relevant roads, ditches and structures.  Until the General Permit is finalized we will not know exactly what needs to be inventoried and prioritized.  However since June 2016 we have had interim guidance from the State to help towns prepare for likely future requirements. 

SWCRPC staff have worked with several towns in the last two years to develop "Road Erosion Inventories".  Each year we modify the inventory approach as we learn more about the likely requirements of the upcoming General Permit, we i
ncorporate more detail into these inventories.  Eventually, the final General Permit and related guidance will determine the requirements for roadway erosion inventories.  
New Road and Bridge Standards
In 2013 VTrans and ANR released updated model Road and Bridge Standards which have been adopted by all the towns in the Region.  ANR and VTrans will reportedly be updating these standards in the near future.  As part of the Road Stormwater Management Plan, roads will be assessed for whether they meet these standards.

More information about these Standards will be shared as it becomes available, including opportunity to comment on the draft Standards.
There are a variety of funding sources available to help Towns address water quality and erosion issues that they have, including:
  • Vermont Better Roads Program has funding for both inventories and construction.  Applications for the next round are anticipated to be due Spring 2017. Click here for more info
  • Vermont Transportation Alternatives Program includes a $1.1 million set aside for water quality related transportation construction projects.  Applications are due October 20, 2016.  Click here for more info
  • Vermont Ecosystem Restoration Program funds a variety of projects that reduce surface water restoration from phosphorus and sediment.  Applications for the next round are anticipated to be due late October 2016.  Click here for more info
For more information about the Muncipal Roads General Permit, contact Jim Ryan at jim.ryan@vermont.gov or 802-490-6140. 
For more information about what is happening in this Region, or to request a field visit or training in your town, contact Katharine Otto at kotto@swcrpc.org or 802-674-9201.