MONTPELIER >> The Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation has launched a new public alert system that enables subscribers to receive email or text message notifications when sewage and unpermitted discharges release into Vermont's lakes, rivers, and ponds.
"We are pleased to launch this new system. It will allow Vermonters to have prompt notification of potential threats to public health and the environment, and to immediately adjust their recreation plans if necessary," states DEC Commissioner Alyssa Schuren.
The subscription system was created as a result of Act 86, a bill signed this past May to strengthen the public's right to know when contaminants enter water bodies unexpectedly. Water system operators are now required to issue public notices promptly immediately upon a release, and issue a full incident report with details on the nature of the discharge or spill within 12 hours of discovery.
Subscribers can choose to sign-up for three different types of notification options: public alerts of sewage discharges, full incident reports following a sewage release, and public alerts of unpermitted discharges (i.e. other substances, dumping or spills) to Vermont's surface waters.
Users can opt to receive notifications for the entire State, or limit notifications to a specific water drainage basin where the user lives or frequently recreates. Subscribe to receive email or text notifications at: https://anrweb.vt.gov/DEC/WWInventory/Subscriptions.aspx
Other mandatory statewide practices to keep the public informed of safe recreational water use include posting permanent signs at combined sewer overflow (CSO) discharge points, and posting temporary signs at public access areas when sewage or other releases pose a risk to human health in the area.
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