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Protecting Vermont’s Waters

Through the proposed Antidegradation Implementation Rule and proposed statutory changes, we are working to establish a more systematic, objective, and equitable process, based solely on their existing water quality, for reclassifying Vermont’s highest quality waters and for managing them to ensure their protection into the future. 

A surface water is classified for each designated use in the Vermont Water Quality Standards. The class of the water determines the management objectives and the minimum water quality criteria. There are four classes of water – A(1), B(1), B(2), and A(2). Class A(1) and Class B(1) have higher minimum water quality criteria relative to Class B(2). The state legislature established that all waters above 2,500 are Class A(1), unless they are a public water source, in which case they are Class A(2). All other waters are Class B(2) unless they have been explicitly reclassified. To date, only a small portion of Vermont’s waters have been reclassified, though many are eligible for reclassification as they meet the minimum water quality criteria for a higher class. 

In addition to designated uses and the minimum water quality criteria necessary to protect and maintain them, the Vermont Water Quality Standards include the Antidegradation Policy. Antidegradation limits incremental lowering of water quality, above the minimum water quality criteria, in lakes, rivers, and wetlands when applied during the applicable permitting process for new and increased discharges.

The following links provide additional details: 

An informational meeting about this initiative was held Monday, December 11th, 6:00 pm at the Gateway Center, 84 Fyfe Dr, Newport, Vermont and online via Microsoft Teams (for audio only, call 802-828-7667, passcode: 892550376#).