In April 2019, a new Vermont law passed requiring testing of new groundwater resources for single-family residences. The requirement is in the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Wastewater System and Potable Water Supply Rules (see the Water Quality section on page 194). Note that the Rules also talk about other situations when a groundwater drinking water source serving a single-family residence or other building must be tested.
Many Vermont schools and childcare facilities are in older buildings, which means they are more likely to have lead in their plumbing. Because there is no safe level of lead in the body, and young children absorb lead into their systems more easily than adults do, it's important to ensure lead levels in drinking water are as low as possible. Fixing a lead in drinking water problem is often easy and low cost. Solutions can include replacing plumbing fixtures, removing redundant or seldom-used fixtures, and encouraging the use of centrally located, well-maintained bottle fill stations.
Vermont law requires all schools and licensed or registered childcare facilities to test their drinking water for lead and remediate if levels are at or above 4 parts per billion (ppb).
While a major source of lead exposure in Vermont children is paint, lead in older plumbing and fixtures can add to a child’s overall lead exposure.
Drought is a prolonged dry period caused by less than normal rainfall or snowfall for an extended period of time. Drought can lead to water shortages, meaning there is less water available for drinking, food production and swimming. It can also lead to other impacts such as poor water quality and more wildfires. Drought can affect our physical and mental health as well as the local economy. Drought conditions sometimes take years to develop and can last as short as one season or as long as many decades.
Drought can cause groundwater levels to lower. There are some things you can do to manage your water supply during drought.
Vermont’s rivers, streams and lakes can be harmful to our health and safety when they flood. Learn about the steps you can take to stay safe before, during and after a flood.
Flood Watch means a flood is possible in your area.
Flood Warning means a flood is about to happen or is happening in your area.
Copper is an essential nutrient for the human body and is found in some foods. It is also a metal commonly used in home plumbing systems and can get into drinking water. However, too much copper in the body can cause health effects.
Hydrogen sulfide gas can occur in wells anywhere in Vermont and gives the water a characteristic "rotten egg" taste or smell. Hydrogen sulfide gas or sulfur bacteria in your water can cause other problems:
Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas. Radon may be present in both soil and water. Soil is the most common source of radon in your home. Well water that contains radon may increase the level of radon in a home. Activities—like taking showers, doing laundry, or running the dishwasher—can release radon into the air.