Progress / Science

Clean Water Advisory Committee at Heart of Chittenden County RPC’s Water Quality Work

The Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission (CCRPC) has a long tradition of using Committees to help oversee its work program and make sure that it is responsive to the needs of its municipalities. In addition to its formal Commission which sets broad policy, the CCRPC has relied on its Transportation Advisory Committee and Planning Advisory Committee to fine tune its efforts. With the start of CCRPC’s new Water Quality Outreach contract with the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (VTDEC), it was a natural progression to create a Clean Water Advisory Committee as well.

This Committee, known as the CWAC, has been meeting monthly since November 2015 with a focus on learning the various elements of the new Vermont Clean Water Act including topics like, the Municipal Roads General Permit, the Lake Champlain Basin Total Maximum Daily Load of Phosphorus that can go into the lake and changes to the Tactical Basin Planning process. The CWAC is composed of one CCRPC Board member, representatives appointed by each of its 19 member municipalities, and members appointed by Vermont DEC, the Vermont Agency of Transportation, the University of Vermont and Burlington International Airport.

Involvement of these three latter agencies is key as they, along with 9 of the County’s municipalities are subject to a Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS-4) permit. In fact the CWAC is an expansion on the longstanding ad hoc advisory group that’s been in place to assist these MS4s in meeting their permit requirements.

This effort, led by CCRPC, includes the Regional Stormwater Education Program, RSEP, and the Chittenden County Stream Team, CCST.  In addition to overseeing CCRPC efforts on stormwater issues and Tactical Basin Planning, the CWAC will also help to guide our work with towns, for example, as they explore adoption of River Corridor regulations or develop Flood Resiliency language for their town plans.