The Fire Chief Project: Water Quality Day in Vermont goes one step further

The state’s first special day recognizing the importance of wastewater treatment includes a biosolids demonstration

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If you’re going to highlight the importance of clean water and wastewater treatment, it makes sense to include resource recovery in the discussion. And so it is in Vermont, where Gov. Peter Shumlin proclaimed Friday, May 23, as Water Quality Day.

The festivities will include a demonstration of biosolids land application on a farm at Essex Junction, according to a news release from the Green Mountain Water Environment Association (GMWEA) and the North East Biosolids and Residuals Association (NEBRA).

The statewide observance highlights the importance of wastewater treatment and water quality to the daily health and well-being of Vermonters. Clean-water plants around the state will open for visitors from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Department of Environmental Conservation commissioner David Mears opens the festivities at 9 a.m. at the Montpelier wastewater treatment facility with a brief talk to high school students from Northfield and others. Tours of the facility follow.

GMWEA president Bob Fischer, head of the Montpelier facility, notes, “There is nothing so critical as water quality, and there is nothing more effective in protecting it than the mostly hidden infrastructure and work being done at wastewater treatment plants. We invite everyone to visit a facility and learn more.” GMWEA explains that the facilities have a role in addressing issues around Lake Champlain, including phosphorus pollution. They are also important in discussions on climate change, sustainability, energy efficiency and recycling.

Some Vermont treatment plants, such as Brattleboro and Essex Junction, generate renewable power while recycling water, nutrients and organic matter. Vermont’s 90 facilities collectively treat 48.5 mgd, returning clean water to rivers and lakes and safely managing the resulting biosolids. More than 55 percent of U. S. biosolids are recycled to soils. Vermont recycles 29 percent of its biosolids, but that is expected to increase as more Chittenden County area solids are treated and land-applied in upstate New York, according to the news release.

This is the first  Vermont Water Quality Day. Participating plants are offering free tours, refreshments, colorful “Water Recycles” posters and more. A list of participating plants and events is at Water Quality Day is sponsored by GMWEA, NEBRA, the Chittenden Solid Waste District, and the participating facilities.


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