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Vermont Updates Groundwater Protection Rule

posted at 11:48 am Wed Oct 29th, 2014 by (WherezIt_Staff)

Vermont's groundwater will now be better protected from pollution discharged into underground wells. Today the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) issued new Underground Injection Control Rules, replacing less protective 1982 standards.

The rules regulate waste below ground through Vermont's Underground Injection Control Program, authorized under the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act.

"This new rule provides a strategic and targeted approach to increasing protections for Vermont's groundwater," said DEC Commissioner David Mears.

Under the new rule, underground injection wells, defined in Vermont as any hole in the ground that accepts waste, are regulated in three categories: high risk, moderate risk, and low risk to groundwater quality. High risk wells, which may dispose of fracking waste, dry cleaning solvents, or hazardous and radioactive waste, are prohibited. Moderate risk wells, receiving waste from certain industrial, mineral or mining processes, will require a permit. Wastes from boiler blowdown, deicing facilities, cooling towers or car washes will also be considered moderate risk and require permits. Low risk activities are considered sand and gravel pits, roadside ditches, and swimming pool drain wells, and will not be permitted or registered. Technical standards are now also provided.

Mears added, "The tiered regulatory approach offers welcome clarity to impacted facilities."

Exemptions from the new rules apply to geothermal systems, certain water treatment systems, and some mining wastes such as discharges from settling ponds and sludge lagoons. All have to meet certain conditions in order to be exempt. In addition, wells that are subject to regulation under other Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation programs, such as stormwater systems, landfills, or septic systems, are also exempt.


The Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation's (DEC) mission is to preserve, enhance, restore and conserve Vermont's natural resources and protect human health for the benefit of this and future generations. DEC, along with the Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation, is part of the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources. DEC manages water and air quality; regulates solid and hazardous wastes; and administers a number of voluntary pollution and waste reduction programs.

Relevant Address(es):
Montpelier, VT 05602 (Set as Local)

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