Letter: Episode raises questions about water treatment


To the Editor:

Last month, on June 11th, more than 1 million gallons of wastewater treatment plant effluent were released into the Walloomsac. There were also issues with E. coli, the presence of which is used to monitor the presence of more dangerous microbes, like Cryptosporidium, Giardia, Shigella, and norovirus.

We all know that no one is going to drink muddy river water. But disease can be spread through contact just like handling animals at a petting zoo.

Read the comments from Chris Gianfagna, the program manager, in this article (Bacteria levels in sewage plant discharge cause concern:

https://www.benningtonbanner.com/stories/bacteria-levels-in-sewage-plant-discharge-cause-concern,577559) from June 23rd and compare them to this, from the DEC...

"Once in a waterbody, they can infect humans through skin contact, ingestion of water, or consumption of contaminated fish and shellfish. Of the designated uses listed in Section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act, protection from pathogenic contamination is most important for waters designated for recreation (primary and secondary contact); public water supplies; aquifer protection; and protection and propagation of fish, shellfish, and wildlife (USEPA, 2001)." https://dec.vermont.gov/sites/dec/files/documents/WSMD_mapp_2011_Statewide%20Bact%20tmdl_0.pdf

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The town's response was pumping what we discharge with more and more chlorine. So now, not only do we have the issue of effluent being discharged and E. coli concerns, we are also apparently trying to turn the river into a swimming pool. How is that chlorine affecting the river?

This is preventable. We need to stop issuing permits for development being added to outdated and inadequate infrastructure until we are ahead of the game. We need to replace and update our infrastructure. This cannot be another Band Aid fix.

I sent out numerous emails, received a few non responses and a couple promises of follow up.... No one anywhere wants to take responsibility for these issues. No one wants to take us past these failing bandaid fixes and excuses. Without clean water ... we have NOTHING!!!

If we keep downplaying occurrences like this and the glaring deficiencies in our systems how is this going to get better? Instead of Bennington going with the flow we could do better and spur on the changes that are needed statewide. What good are we without clean water?

Kristin Mack,



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