“Unfortunately, not all of Vermont’s waters are as clean as they should be. Water pollution limits our use and enjoyment of approximately 15% of Vermont’s lakes, and 20% of streams.” [VT DEC]

Stormwater runoff, from sources such as agricultural land, roads, parking lots, lawns, industrial facilities and more, presents a real problem to Vermont’s water resources. This runoff leads to pollution of our waterways, erosion, algal blooms, and ultimately inhibits our collective usage and enjoyment of water in Vermont. The VT Legislature passed Act 64 in 2015 which required new Stormwater Rules that went into effect in 2019, and directed VT DEC to create a permit to retroactively improve stormwater on existing properties with more than 3 acres of impervious surfaces; that permit was drafted in 2019 and numerous public comments were received. On September 1, 2020 General Permit #3-9050 (aka the 3-Acre) Permit was issued.

stormwater retrofit

This permit only applies to landowners that have 3 acres or more of existing impervious surface on their property, or are part of a “Common Plan of Development” that totals >3 acres. Those landowners will need to seek coverage under the new permit and begin reviewing how they will ultimately comply with the permit requirements. The permit establishes a two-step process that first requires application for initial coverage as soon as January 1, 2022, for some watersheds, mostly those draining to Lake Champlain. An Initial Notice of Intent (NOI) application is required by 2022, with some not required until 2033, dependent on watershed (see map). An Engineering Feasibility Analysis is required to determine if the property can support a stormwater retrofit or if mitigation fees must be paid in-lieu of constructing improvements.  

The second step of the process comes at the end of those 18 months, when the landowner will have to apply for coverage with approved retrofit design.  Once approved by ANR, the owner will have 5 years to install the required stormwater improvements.  Full details can be found on the State’s website here: https://dec.vermont.gov/watershed/stormwater/9050

3-9050 Map

We understand that during these difficult and uncertain economic times, one more expense can be daunting to businesses and landowners.  Permitting in VT is notoriously difficult, and stormwater rules can be very complex and confusing, but TCE has been actively involved in stormwater permitting and design since 1975 and we’re able to help anyone with land interests negotiate and navigate the process; and find cost effective solutions.  Feasibility studies, due diligence, surveying, design, permitting, and construction all take time, often 6-18 months before you can break ground.  In most cases, other permits will be required too, e.g. Act 250, local zoning, wetlands, can all be triggered when any site work is required.  If you want to learn a bit more about Stormwater and various treatment practices VT DEC ANR has produced a nice informational brochure click here.

If you have a property that you are concerned may require a 3-9050 permit, or have received correspondence from VT DEC, feel free to contact us at 802-879-6331.