The Toxics Action Center releases "Toxics in Vermont: A Town-by-Town Profile" once every few years, said Brendan Gallagher, community organizer for the center. He said the report is meant to be a tool for citizens to use so they know potential threats in their communities. The last time it was released was in 2004, he said, and it has been updated to include underground storage tanks.
He said not all of the listed sites are threats to public health, but they could be, as in the case of underground storage tanks which can rupture and pollute ground water. He said people should know when such things are near their water sources.
The report can be found on the group's Website www.toxicsaction.org or at http://cdn.publicinterestnetwork.org/assets/426ecbb1bbb57bae6db4455f13 d36fe6/VT-Toxics-Report-FINAL.pdf
Landfills, salvage yards
It lists the locations of air pollution, power plants, hazardous waste producers and sites, Environmental Protection Agency Superfund sites, landfills both active and inactive, sites that discharge into waterways, underground storage tanks and both legal and illegal salvage yards.
Gallagher said the information is already available to the public, but it's scattered across different agencies. He said the Toxics Center collects the data from the EPA and the state Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) and makes it more easily available.
Predictably, toxic sites are clustered in densely populated areas such as Chittenden County, but Gallagher said there are only about eight towns with no identified sites.
Statewide, there are:
272 facilities permitted to release a certain amount of toxins into the air.
477 hazardous waste generating sites
13 fossil fuel, wood waste, or nuclear power plants.
11 Superfund sites, meaning they are considered national priorities by the EPA.
33 facilities permitted to discharge into waterways.
3,500 underground storage tanks holding fossil fuels.
215 illegal salvage yards.
According to the report, 102 of the state's 1,421 are listed as high priorities.
The report comes with a list of recommendations, including shutting down Vermont Yankee, the state's sole nuclear power plant, on schedule. It also recommends reducing the use of toxic industrial chemicals, ensuring hazardous waste sites are cleaned up, re-writing solid waste plans, reduce and phase out pesticides, improve water quality, and clean polluting salvage yards.
Gallagher said the sites listed shouldn't be news to most town officials and local emergency planners and fire departments are aware of them.
Contact Keith Whitcomb at email@example.com.