Potash Brook originates in South Burlington between Dorset and Spear Streets. The stream flows north, close to the Burlington International Airport and US Rte. 2. It then turns west where it flows and continues to flow through South Burlington before emptying into Lake Champlain in Shelburne Bay. Multiple smaller tributaries enter the main stem along its course.

The Potash Brook watershed covers 43% of the land area within South Burlington (Potash). Along its course it passes through several wetlands and natural areas (Stormwater, 1997). However, the land surrounding the stream’s main stem is generally highly developed. The Potash Brook watershed is home to some of the densest residential and commercial development within Vermont (East Woods). The 7.5 square mile watershed is over 19% impervious.

South Burlington has a population of around 16,000 people and is one of the largest municipalities in Vermont. The Champlain Water District (CWD), which provides drinking water to South Burlington and other municipalities in the area, draws its water from Shelburne Bay. Potash Brook has a history of high bacteria levels, which is a concern for the CWD and area residents (Potash, 2003).

Currently, the Stream Team is monitoring three sites along Potash Brook with the help of volunteers.  Water samples are being taken twice a month throughout the summer and are tested for phosphorus, turbidity, chloride and nitrogen.

Chloride (mg/L)

Phosphorus – Total (TP) (µg/L)

Turbidity (NTU)


NaCL (mg/L)Phosphorus Total (TP) (µg/L)Turbidity (NTU)

All of the data collected by Chittenden County Stream Team volunteers is shared with the State of Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (VT DEC). The DEC shares all state-wide data with the Environmental Protection Agency.

State-wide Vermont water quality data can be found on the Agency of Natural Resources website.

National water quality data can be found here: http://www.epa.gov/storet/