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Visit local sewer plants on Thursday

VERGENNES / MIDDLEBURY — On May 30, the wastewater treatment plants in Middlebury and Vergennes will celebrate Water Quality Day by hosting open houses. The public is invited for a free, first-hand introduction to the science, high-tech, and human dedication that protect the public health and keep Vermont’s rivers and lakes clean.  
Water Quality Day has been proclaimed every year since 2014 by Govs. Shumlin and Scott to honor Vermont’s drinking water and wastewater systems and the professional community that operates them. In his 2019 proclamation, Gov. Phil Scott described these systems as Vermont’s “most critical barriers against water pollution and the most essential protectors of the public health.” They also constitute the largest and most valuable — yet least visible — infrastructure that cities and towns own.
Vergennes Wastewater Treatment Plant, at the end of Canal Street, will host an open house from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, contact Rick Chaput, chief operator, at (802) 877-2931 or [email protected]
Middlebury Wastewater Treatment Facility, at 243 Industrial Avenue, will hold its open house from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. For more information, contact Bob Wells, chief operator, at (802) 388-6514 or [email protected].
Visitors will see the many processes — filtration, UV light exposure, chemical treatment, sedimentation, biodigestion, testing, computer monitoring, and more — required to make wastewater safe to release back into natural waterways. They will also get a sense of the staggering volume of water processed by community water systems in Vermont: about 45 million gallons per day, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. All of it treated before use to make it safe to drink, and all of it treated again in wastewater facilities.
The facilities are among 19 plants open to the public, statewide, on Water Quality Day. For information on all tour schedules and locations, visit gmwea.org/water-quality-day.html. 
Water Quality Day events are sponsored by Green Mountain Water Environment Association. For more information, visit gmwea.org, or contact Daniel Hecht, association executive director, at (802) 595-0997 or [email protected].

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