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Groundwater Reclassification

The Legislature, through the Groundwater Protection Rule and Strategy, has established groundwater in the state as a resource held in trust for the public.

There are four classes of groundwater:

  • Class I and Class II are suitable for public water supply.
  • Class III is suitable for most uses including, individual water supply, irrigation, agriculture and general industrial and commercial use.  This is the default classification for groundwater in the state (includes Potable and Public water sources).
  • Class IV is not suitable as a source of potable water but suitable for some agricultural, industrial, and commercial use, provided that the Secretary may authorize, subject to conditions, use as a source or potable water supply or other use under a reclassification order issued for the aquifer.

In order to change a groundwater classification for an area from Class III, a petition process is required and is described in the links below.  Currently, there are no Class I areas, one Class II, and 12 Class IV areas.  

Due to changes in requirements within the Groundwater Protection Rule, it is anticipated that there will be an increase in the number of reclassifications to Class IV to document recalcitrant groundwater contamination due to releases from hazardous materials.    For most reclassifications to a Class IV, the petition will be included as part of or linked to the Corrective Action Plan for addressing hazardous material releases, consistent with the requirements under the Investigation and Remediation of Contaminated Properties Rule. The Waste Management and Protection Division will typically be the lead in reviewing and processing these types of Class IV petitions.  However, there may be other instances where other VT Department of Environmental Conservation divisions or groups may take the lead.   The Water Resources Section of the Drinking Water and Groundwater Protection Division will be the lead in reviewing and processing proposed Class I and II petitions.

Groundwater Reclassification Procedures:
A table of current groundwater areas that have been reclassified can be found at the link below:
Groundwater Reclassification Page 

Note: Clicking on the Site Name will take you to the Project Data (WMID).
Clicking on the Class IV Area on Atlas will link to the ANR Atlas showing the extent of the area.

Environmental Research Tool (WMID)