Rethink Runoff is an ongoing awareness and public outreach effort to reduce dirt and pollutants in stormwater runoff in the Lake Champlain Basin.
The Rethink Runoff program, managed by the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission (CCRPC), assists several municipalities and entities in complying with federally required stormwater permits.
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Positively Vermont: Rethink Runoff – Reducing Lake Champlain Pollution
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Art for awareness: Muralists adorn Milton storm drains
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“Murals with a message at storm drains”
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“Volunteers needed for stream cleanup”
The Essex Reporter, September 14, 2016
“BTV storm drain mural project coming”
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“Water monitors needed in Chittenden County”
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The Regional Stormwater Educational Program (RSEP) was formed in 2003 by nine municipalities in Chittenden County [Burlington, Colchester, Essex, Essex Junction, Milton, Shelburne, South Burlington, Williston, and Winooski] and three other entities to pool their resources to meet Public Education & Outreach requirements of their EPA permit. The RSEP program conducted spring and late summer advertising campaigns to promote its website, www.smartwaterways.org, where people could learn about the impacts of excessive stormwater and simple practices they could carry out to minimize pollution and “slow the flow” of stormwater.
Seeing the benefits of collaboration, in 2011 these municipalities and entities formed a similar effort, the CCST, to meet the Public Involvement & Participation requirements of their EPA permit. Each year, the Stream Team has worked in various communities helping citizens to conduct hands-on activities, such as stream cleanups and constructing rain gardens. The CCST has engaged in face-to-face communications with people as well to solicit their involvement.
While the CCRPC manages various consultants helping to implement the program, overall management of Rethink Runoff is conducted by the MS4 Subcommittee of CCRPCs Clean Water Advisory Committee. The Subcommittee typically meets every first Tuesday of the month starting around noon. To view agendas and minutes of the Subcommittee please visit the Clean Water Advisory Committee page here.
The Clean Water Act of 1972 authorizes the EPA and states to regulate point sources that discharge pollutants into waters of the United States through the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit program. The point sources are generated from a variety of municipal and industrial operations including treated wastewater and stormwater runoff from drainage systems called Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4).
The NPDES permit program created two phases of MS4s. Phase I, formed in 1990, regulating the discharges from MS4 systems, construction activities, industrial activities and water quality impacts for medium to large cities serving a population of 100,000 or more.
Phase II, formed in 1999, regulates discharges from MS4 systems, construction activities, industrial activities, and water quality impacts for small urbanized areas. Vermont has nine municipalities that are designated Phase II MS4s. These municipalities are Burlington, Colchester, Essex, Essex Junction, Milton, Shelburne, South Burlington, Williston, and Winooski. Three publicly-owned “non-traditional” MS4’s were also designated: the University of Vermont, Burlington International Airport, and the Vermont Agency of Transportation.
In October 2000, EPA authorized the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to implement the NPDES stormwater permitting program in the State of Vermont. The NPDES stormwater program regulates point source discharges of stormwater into surface waters of the State of Vermont from certain municipal, industrial, and construction activities. As the NPDES stormwater permitting authority, DEC is responsible for promulgating rules and issuing permits, managing and reviewing permit applications, and performing compliance and enforcement activities.
For more information about MS4 stormwater permitting in Vermont, please visit the State of Vermont Department of Environment Conservation.
The Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission provides planning and technical assistance in the areas of Community Development, Transportation, Agriculture, Natural Resources, Housing, Economic Development, Telecommunications and Emergency Management to the 19 municipalities of Chittenden County and to the public, while remaining consistent with federal and state requirements. The collaboration between the CCRPC, Chittenden County municipalities and other related resources agencies results in the development and implementation of plans that support sustainable development and improve the region’s environment and quality of life. For more information about the CCRPC, please visit www.ccrpcvt.org.