Nov 20, 2019
Stormwater Team for Essex - Annie & Chelsea

Managing run off from storms has become increasingly important over the past decade as the water quality of Lake Champlain has deterioriated.  Essex has been in the lead in taking steps to keep runoff out of the Tri-Town treatment plant (located on Cascade Street) and out of the Winooski River which quickly reaches Lake Champlain.  We will hear from Annie Constandi (Town of Essex's Stormwater Coordinator) and Chelsea Mandigo (an Environmental Technician for the Village of Essex Junction and based at the waste treatment plant.)  The most visible project of the past year is the work done at the intersection of Fairview and Route 15.  We'll hear about what that project is all about and how it is designed to work.  

STORMWATER MANAGEMENT for the Town of Essex and the Village of Essex Junction:

For more than 10 years, several Chittenden County communities, including the Town of Essex and the Village of Essex Junction, have worked together to create and operate the Regional Stormwater Education Program (RSEP). This organization is a collaborative effort of nine municipalities, the University of Vermont, the Vermont Agency of Transportation, and the Burlington International Airport. The central mission of RSEP is to educate the public on how stormwater affects our streams and Lake Champlain and the simple things we all can do to improve overall water quality.  Together, we have been able to do much more than we would if efforts were simply done on a town-by-town basis.

Essex’s efforts have included extensive community outreach and education to residents on small but important things anyone can do: picking up pet waste, reducing the use of fertilizers and pesticides, testing soils to determine if fertilizers are even needed and greener practices for car washing.

We are happy to report that progress is being made and the overall results are promising.  In 2013, we surveyed more than 400 residents of the nine RSEP member towns. More than 80% of those surveyed now pick up pet waste compared to only 62% in 2003.  Pet waste can be a significant source of bacterial contamination to our streams and Lake Champlain.  Similarly, only 29% of the citizens surveyed use fertilizers on their lawn, down from 50%.  We also saw an increase in soil testing to determine whether fertilizers are even needed.  Testing soil for fertilizer need saves money, but also prevents unnecessary pollutants from entering our local waters. Your efforts have resulted in significant progress. 

Additionally, the Town and the Village have come together to create a Joint Stormwater Committee (JSWC) with the purpose of exploring and making recommendations relating to joint /cooperative stormwater management, operations and funding of stormwater activity in the Indian and Sunderland Brook watersheds. 

To that end, in 2014 and beyond, we will be providing you more information on how you can further protect waterways by using rain gardens, rain barrels and reducing impermeable surfaces on your property.  As spring and summer rainstorms become more intense, these actions can “Slow the Flow” of stormwater so our local waterways don’t become excessively eroded and/or clogged with silt and other trash.

We would like to thank the people of the Town and the Village for the ongoing commitment to improving our streams and Lake Champlain, and we remain committed to working with you to advance these common goals.  

Dennis Lutz, P.E., Public Works Director
Jim Jutras, Water Quality Superintendent
Chelsea Mandigo, Environmental Technician
Annie Costandi, E.I, Stormwater Coordinator