2018 Water News

  • Update from Shaun Fielder - November 28, 2018

    After 20-plus years of service with rural water I have decided to move on. I met with Ed Savage (VRWA board president) recently and gave notice as VRWA executive director. I will wrap up work with VRWA on December 31.

    Please understand my decision to move on was not an easy one but in the end I have a great opportunity and have accepted the town manager position in a north central Vermont community near my home. I do see this as the next positive chapter in my professional career.

    I am extremely honored to have worked closely with all here at VRWA and of course with all of you in the industry. I have been lucky enough to form some long-standing friendships with many of you and I hope this will continue. Just as rewarding has been the opportunity to support rural water systems all across Vermont and beyond.

    I am most proud of my decision to take the helm at VRWA 13 years ago during a challenging reorganization time. Ever since then I have focused on seeing VRWA be a leading company that is respected, performs, and continues to meet its mission. I am confident these outcomes have been achieved and will continue to be.

    Ed Savage, with support of all other board members and all the VRWA team members, is working on the logistics related to assigning a new leader. VRWA is well prepared for the task and will keep things functioning smoothly for years to come. More information on the process to obtain a new leader will be shared by VRWA in the near future.

    Please know I will continue to advocate for rural water in my new role and I am 100% confident the association will continue to be a leading and successful firm. To all of you I have been lucky enough to interact with over time thank you, I very much appreciate what you do for the good of your community and our state at large. It has been an honor to work with you and support you as best I could.

    Humbly yours.

    Shaun Fielder.

  • Animating Infrastructure Grant Program Looking for Water & Wastewater Projects!

    Have you noticed the amazing new mural on the retaining wall in Bethel or the artwork on the old silos in Jeffersonville? Do you think your storage tank, utility boxes or manhole covers are looking a bit dull these days? The Vermont Arts Council is searching for applicants for their Animating Infrastructure Grants – and this year, they are interested in seeing water, wastewater, and stormwater infrastructure projects. An online letter of intent is due on DECEMBER 10th, 2018. More information is available at:


    For inspiration, check out these innovative projects from around North America (PDF).

  • Proposed Amended Wastewater System and Potable Water Supply Rules

    The Wastewater System and Potable Water Supply Rules were last updated in 2007. This amendment comprehensively reorganizes and revises the rule to increase clarity. It incorporates legislative directives adopted after the last rule update, including requirements that permit applicants notify other landowners of pending applications, that groundwater potable water sources be tested for water quality prior to use, and that surface water can be a source for potable water supplies serving single-family residences. The amendment also establishes new water quality sampling requirements; adds provisions specific to non-pathogenic wastewater; expands options for the design of wastewater systems; creates additional permitting exemptions to reduce administrative burdens on the public; and consolidates provisions on potable water supplies. The Water Supply Rule is concurrently amended to remove provisions on potable water supplies and the Indirect Discharge Rules is concurrently amended to clarify they will not regulate small sewage and non-sewage wastewater systems.

    Click for more information: http://dec.vermont.gov/water/ww-systems

  • Local Vermont Officials Note CLF Suit Unfairly Targets Wastewater Facilities

    A number of local VT community officials offer commentary in vtdigger on permit challenge(s). Key point clarifying these recently issued permits, those being challenged, have a lower allowed discharge standard than prior. In addition quantitative details illustrating the important role direct discharge facilities continue to play for pollution prevention. See the commentary at this link https://vtdigger.org/2018/08/15/local-officials-clf-suit-unfairly-targets-wastewater-treatment.

  • Have Any Projects? UVM Seeks CapStone Project Options

    VRWA contacted on this issue recently and glad to share this information provided by program lead John Lens -

    Here is a brief explanation of our capstone program
    Each year, now beginning with the fall semester, UVM's civil and environmental engineering seniors in our capstone design course work with Vermont and other community partners on engineering service-learning projects. We partner with local towns, state agencies, and non-profit organizations on projects such as storm water management systems, wastewater treatment plant upgrades, preservation and restorations of historic buildings, landslide remediation, bridges, park and ride facilities, pedestrian paths, and traffic improvements, as examples. We support planning related projects when they involve civil and environmental engineering components. We also encourage projects with more innovative themes-for example, net-zero energy based designs or community infrastructure modifications directed at supporting seniors staying in their own homes as they age.

    Information on what is involved in proposing a project is at the following website: https://www.uvm.edu/cems/cee/civil-and-environmental-engineering-cenve-senior-capstone-design Short video stories prepared by the students a few years ago are at the following link: http://www.uvm.edu/~sysedcee/?Page=capstone/default.php

    We are actively seeking projects for this year. If you have ideas for possible projects and are interested in working with our engineering students, please contact me jelens@uvm.edu. Also, please feel free to forward this email to colleagues in your organization or other organizations who might be interested in becoming community partners.

    Best regards,
    John E. Lens, P.E., D.GE
    Professor of the Practice
    University of Vermont
    College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences
    Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
    233A Votey Hall
    33 Colchester Avenue
    Burlington, VT 05405

    Cell Phone: 802.272.2796


  • Thank You for All You Do for Clean Water in Vermont - #cleanwaterweekvt 2018

    VRWA is extending our appreciation to all of you working in the water sector as #cleanwaterweekvt 2018 closes. Whether at the grassroots operations, management or board level, providing industry support and services, supporting efforts for funding of infrastructure improvements, serving in a regulatory or legislative role, or providing technical support services - you are a valued asset to our state! All efforts combined are supporting clean water ongoing.

    For those in operations roles, you often work humbly behind the scenes and don’t seek the spotlight for what you are accomplishing 365/24/7. VRWA well knows the high level of service you are providing while managing detailed and complex mechanical and biological processes. This takes a very unique and strong character and specialized set of skills that all should be proud of. Your response to emergencies in all kinds of weather on holidays, nights, and weekends and always being, “on the clock,” to insure the tap flows and that your residential and business customers can flush the toilet without thinking about it is very commendable.

    Let us not forget the great progress the direct discharge wastewater facilities in particular have made these past 20 plus years all across the state. Investments into the hundreds of millions of dollars for upgrades to treatment, collection systems, and associated processes have resulted in a significant increase in treatment capability at respective locations. This sector has done amazing work for sure and will continue to.

    Please do speak up regarding the importance of your service and value and the good return on investment your system is providing. When things aren’t going as planned, continue to provide the needed information so customers are informed. Your role in operations associated with wastewater, stormwater, biosolids, and public drinking water are critical to the economic vitality for all our towns and cities and the state overall. Thanks again for all you do for the good of Vermont’s environment, protection of public health, and economic support, VRWA appreciates your efforts.

  • The Vermont Clean Water Board Needs Your Input!

    The Vermont Clean Water Board needs your input! Please offer input on funding strategies for FY2020. Deadline to complete questionnaire by July 31. See this link https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CWFSFY20 More info on Clean Water Fund at this link http://dec.vermont.gov/watershed/cwi/cwf.

  • We Apologize for Technical Difficulties with our Training Schedule

    We apologize for the technical difficulties we are having with our website. You can view a pdf of out training calendar below. Please call the VRWA office to register at 802-660-4988 extension 305. Thank you for your patience and we hope to have this problem resolved soon.

  • VRWA Annual Conference and Trade Show

    Mark your calendars for our 2018 conference and trade show event. We are looking forward to returning to the Lake Morey Resort on May 9 & 10, 2018. More information on registration for our associate contacts as well as individuals will be released soon.

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