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A new village wastewater infrastructure program will invest $350,000 to boost rural economic development in Vermont and protect the environment. This month the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), in collaboration with other state agencies, federal partners and local organizations, launched a pilot program in Wolcott, East Burke. and West Burke. 

Investing in wastewater infrastructure in village centers protects Vermont’s historic village development patterns and allows villages to treat sewage more effectively, preventing discharges to groundwater and rivers. 

The design and installation of rural wastewater infrastructure projects is distinct from that of Vermont’s larger communities. Many villages face significant hurdles, including the high cost of installation compounded by a small user base. This pilot program will help combat obstacles like these by working with towns to collect data and complete preliminary engineering designs for wastewater system improvements. For the more than 150 villages that do not have community wastewater systems, this pilot program is an important step forward. The information gathered during the initial three-year phase can be applied to future rural wastewater infrastructure projects across the state. 

Recognizing the importance of this work in shaping the state’s future, officials from Burke and Wolcott are partnering with the DEC, the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development, the Vermont Department of Health, the Vermont Rural Water Association, Rural Community Assistance Program Solutions, and regional planning commissions to embark on this three-year pilot project. Funding is provided by the Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC) and Regional Engineering Planning Advance grants.

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