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Population: 608,827

Information on the state of Vermont is available for the following topics. To review this information, click on the links below.

Contacts| Regulations, Statutes & State Codes | Quick Facts | Septic Stats

Onsite Demonstration Programs | Onsite Management Communities



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Roger Thompson, Jr., Regional Office Programs Manager, or
Allison Lowry, Principal Soil Scientist
Vermont Agency of Natural Resources
Wastewater Management Division
103 South Main Street
The Sewing Building
Waterbury, Vermont 05671-0405
(802) 241-3027 or (802) 241-4455 (respectively)
(802) 241-2596 (fax)




Regulations, Statutes & State Codes:
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Vermont State Regulations

Vermont Constitutions, Statutes and Codes

Environmental Protection Rules
Chapter 1
Small Scale Wastewater Treatment and Disposal Rules
August 8, 1996

Onsite regulations for Vermont were last amended on August 8, 1996, but are currently under major revision, including site limitations, treatment levels versus separation to water table, process for review and approval of innovative/alternative technologies, and extension of State jurisdiction over some previously exempt lots. Expected adoption of revisions is Spring 2002.

Those technologies approved for onsite wastewater treatment and disposal include trenches, beds, mounds, at-grade systems, sand filters, and the Advantex system. Vermont is just starting to move forward with review of other proprietary systems. By mid 2002, it is expected that several additional systems will be approved for at least limited use. After rule making is complete, there will be more focus on the approval process. For now, all resources are focused on getting through the rule making process. The new rules will include a protocol for review of experimental, pilot, and general use systems.

Surface discharge is not an option for onsite septic disposal systems in Vermont; however, surface application is allowed with spray irrigation. A direct discharge to a brook or stream is not.

State Code allows for drainfield area/size reductions in leachfield size. If a sand filter or Advantex filter is used with 30/30 mg/l or better removal of BOD and TSS, the loading rate can be doubled.

No funding program exists to assist homeowners either replacing failing systems or installing new ones, but legislation has been proposed.

Bruce Douglas, Stone Environmental, may be contacted at (802) 229-4541 for information about ongoing onsite wastewater demonstration, research, or testing projects in the state.

Vermont Code does not require management programs/contracts or management districts to monitor and maintain onsite systems or individual liquid waste systems, and there are no plans to develop such a maintenance program within the next year. Under existing municipal ordinances or organization as a fire district, local agencies have authority to adopt/require maintenance/management programs.

The number of permits issued each year for new construction or system repair/replacement is not tracked. Vermont does not have statewide jurisdiction, and it is estimated that only about one-third of systems require state review.

In Vermont, a wastewater disposal system has failed when there is surfacing, backup, discharge to surface waters, contamination of a potable water supply, or threat to human health. No study has been done as to the reasons for system failure in the state. The estimate is that most failed systems are ones that did not require a state permit and, therefore, were not designed based on the current Rules. Very few systems designed and installed in accord with current Rules appear to fail.

The State operates a licensing/certification program for onsite wastewater professionals. Designers have to be licensed engineers or certified site technicians. Only licensed designers are licensed/certified to perform site evaluations/inspections. Lowry (above) can provide information about certified site technicians.


Quick Facts:
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Total number of onsite systems: Numbers NA; reportedly about 50% of the state uses onsite

Number of new systems installed each year: 3000 estimated.

Failure definition: Plumbing backup, surfacing effluent, or discharge to waters of the state.

Number or proportion of systems presently failing: NA

Number or proportion repaired annually: Approximately 1500 are repaired or replaced p.a.

Number or proportion replaced annually: See above.

Number or proportion of repairs or replacements that require alternative technology (e.g.,
sand filters, pressure dosing):
Mounds have been in use since 1982 and sand filters since 1997.
About 100 of each are installed each year, as new or replacement systems.

Number or proportion of repairs or replacements that require advanced technology (e.g.,
disinfection, nutrient removal):
Very few, if any.

Cost of a conventional septic system installation: Conventional, $2000-$4000; with curtain
drain, $3500-$6500; sand filter, $8000-$15,000; mound, $7000-$20,000.

Cost of a centralized sewer tie-in (including fees and cost of the sewer lateral): NA


Septic Stats:
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VERMONT 562,758 271,214 137,953 83,366 16,415 33,480 115,201 149,125 6,888
ADDISON 32,953 14,022 6,228 5,121 1,018 1,655 2,996 10,592 434
BENNINGTON 35,845 18,501 9,179 6,577 1,137 1,608 6,536 11,285 680
CALEDONIA 37,846 13,449 6,181 3,245 1,204 2,819 4,840 8,266 343
CHITTENDEN 131,761 52,095 41,034 7,422 1,788 1,851 33,496 18,045 554
ESSEX 6,405 4,403 1,397 1,196 287 1,523 873 3,147 383
FRANKLIN 39,980 17,250 8,382 4,573 1,287 3,008 6,694 10,184 372
GRAND ISLE 5,318 4,135 986 1,063 267 1,819 294 3,784 57
LAMOILLE 19,735 9,872 3,001 4,035 431 2,405 2,255 7,370 247
ORANGE 26,149 12,336 3,062 4,230 2,465 2,579 2,043 9,781 512
ORLEANS 24,053 12,997 5,469 4,122 656 2,750 4,215 8,399 383
RUTLAND 62,142 31,181 15,964 11,077 1,213 2,927 15,361 15,370 450
WASHINGTON 54,928 25,328 14,569 6,922 878 2,959 13,662 11,218 448
WINDHAM 41,588 25,796 9,522 12,093 1,648 2,533 10,103 14,423 1,270
WINSOR 54,055 29,849 12,979 11,690 2,136 3,044 11,833 17,261 755


Onsite Demonstration Programs:
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The town of Warren has received federal NODP funding for a combined community system
and onsite district; work was to begin in the spring of 1999.

Onsite Management Communities:
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There is no information available on Onsite Management Communities in Vermont.