The Vermont Clean Water Act
The Legislature passed the Vermont Clean Water Act in Spring 2015 and details regarding its implementation are becoming available. The law takes the all in approach and applies across Vermont, not just the Lake Champlain basin. It requires all towns and everyone in Vermont to take action that will reduce stormwater and sediment from reaching our waters. The major elements of the Act are summarized below.
The Act aims to reduce the amou nt of pollution that runs off of farm fields and barnyards.  There are cost-effective practices that farmers can use to save soil and reduce water pollution. The Accepted Agricultural Practices are becoming the Required Agricultural Practices (RAPs) and they are currently under development.

The RAPs will regulate farms based on their sizes. Click here  for a fact sheet outlining the farm sizes. Municipalities will now have the option to apply zoning regulations to the smallest category of those farms.  
Stormwater from Developed Lands
Existing developments with 3 or more acres of impervious surfaces that were not previously permitted will become subject to a new permit. The Act also requires stormwater retrofits to the impervious surface at such sites. Standards will be developed alongside the permit in 2018. Retrofits will be required in the Lake Champlain basin by 2023 and the rest of the state by 2028. Stay tuned for more information.
Stormwater from Roads
Municipalities will be required to apply for a Municipal Roads General Permit. A draft of the permit will be available for public review and comment during 2017. Towns will have until July 1, 2021 to apply for coverage. 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.

Look out for a Road Stormwater specific update from SWCRPC in September. 
Basin Planning

Tactical basin plans for Vermont's watersheds are developed by the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources according to the goals and objectives of the Vermont Surface Water Management Strategy to protect, maintain and restore the biological, chemical, and physical integrity, and public use and enjoyment of Vermont's water resources, and to protect public health and safety.  Two basin plans cover the entire southern Windsor County area: Basin 10 - The Black and Ottauquechee Rivers and Basin 11 - The West, Williams, and Saxton Rivers. The plans identify implementation projects to improve water quality within that watershed. It is important for interested people, towns, and organizations to become involved in the basin planning process as state funding for water quality projects is closely linked to the implementation priorities in the basin plans.

The Basin 10 Plan is currently in its 2-year update cycle. Marie Caduto is the VT DEC Basin Planner responsible for Basin 10. Stay tuned for opportunities to comment on a draft once it is ready for circulation.
River Corridors and Floodplains
Municipalities are encouraged to prote ct Floodplains and River Corridors by adopting local regulations. Perhaps the best incentive to do so is the increased reimbursement rate through Verm ont's Emergency Relief and Assistance Fund (ERA F). The ERAF contributes State funding to match Public Assistance after a federally declared disaster. Eligible costs are reimbursed at a 75% rate. Vermont will contribute an additional 7.5%, 12.5%, or 17.5% if municipalities take certain steps to reduce flood damage.
Regional Clean Water Advisory Committee
As a result of the passage of the Vermont Clean Water Act, the SWCRPC's role in water quality planning has increased greatly. Part of the water quality planning responsibilities will include project prioritization based upon the implementation measures in the basin plans as well as local needs. As such, the SWCRPC is creating an advisory committee similar to the Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC) to guide and assist the RPC with future water quality planning efforts. This committee will be known as the Clean Water Advisory Committee (CWAC).

Membership on the CWAC will benefit the member's organization/municipality in several ways. It will provide a voice in the project prioritization process, give a direct line to information related to water quality planning and the water quality act, as well as an avenue to ask questions and pass along their concerns.
For more information about any of the Water Quality related programs, contact Dan Potter at or 802-674-9201