A listing of links
and brief descriptions of the various offices, programs and divisions
within the Department of Environmental Conservation:
AIR QUALITY & CLIMATE DIVISION
The Vermont Air Quality and Climate Division (AQCD) of
the Department of Environmental Conservation
implements state and federal Clean Air Acts. As part of
the AQCD monitors air quality and air pollution sources,
proposes regulations to improve existing air quality,
ensures compliance with the regulations, and issues
permits to control pollution from sources of air contaminants
across the state. Within the Division are sections: Air
Planning, Engineering Services, Field Services, Mobile
Sources, Climate Change, and Technical Services.
The Planning Section develops plans and programs
to meet state and federal requirements and implements regulations
developed by the Division. Revisions of state air quality plans
required by federal law and maintenance of comprehensive emissions
inventories are the responsibility of this section. Staff members
perform the analysis needed for new programs or attainment or
maintenance strategies, and coordinate activities on issues such
as acid rain, air toxics, and visibility. Primary activities
include maintenance of the point source hazardous air contaminant
emissions database, development of statewide hazardous air contaminant
emissions inventories, and development of toxic action plans
for about a dozen hazardous contaminants.
Permitting and Engineering Services: Air
pollution control permits are required to make sure sources
of air contaminants comply with regulations
and outdoor air quality
standards, and to control and minimize air pollutants. Permitting and Engineering
Services issues permits to construct and operate stationary sources
of air pollution. These permits regulate activities such as the
wood products industries; rock and gravel crushing operations;
large fuel-burning equipment; surface coating operations such
as spray painting; incinerators, and processes using plastics,
rubber and resins.
Field Services: As the Division’s
compliance arm, staff members inspect commercial and other
sources of air pollution to ensure that
pollution control requirements are being met. Staff monitors
the testing and operation of gasoline vapor recovery systems
at service stations. This section also provides technical
assistance, issues open burning permits and investigates air
The Mobile Sources Section provides technical
expertise for transportation-related air pollution activities
such as motor vehicle emissions inspection and maintenance, automotive
technician training, the low-emission vehicle program, alternative
fuels, heavy-duty diesel emissions, and non-road engines.
The Technical Services Section
operates the Division’s
statewide ambient air monitoring network for ozone, particulate
matter, various volatile organic and carbonyl compounds, toxic
elements, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide.
The Section also oversees air pollution permit—required
continuous emission monitoring at significant air pollution sources.
The Commissioner is responsible for
all Department activities. To support the overall function
of the Department and the work of individual divisions, the
Commissioner’s Office encompasses several programs.
The Administration and Innovation Division includes the Finance Office and the Planning and Innovation Office, as well as the programs listed below.
Permit Coordination: The
Permit Specialists, who are located
in the Agency of Natural Resources
Regional Offices, can provide
guidance to permit applicants.
Vermont Geological Survey: The Vermont Geological Survey, in the Department
of Environmental Conservation, conducts surveys and research
relating to the
geology, mineral resources and topography of the State. TheSurvey
also provides information to the public, government, industry,
and other organizations who
reviews projects as they relate to Criteria 9D and 9E of Act
250; and maintains and publishes Vermont geological information.
The Department of Environmental Conservation's Environmental
Laboratory is located in Burlington,
Vermont on the University of Vermont Campus. The DEC maintains a laboratory to analyze water,
air, and soil samples for organic and inorganic compounds and
Lab provides high quality analytical support
to divisions in the DEC, other departments in the Agency of
and state government as well as other publicly
funded environmental management and protection programs.
Compliance and Enforcement
The Compliance & Enforcement Division (CED) enforces the environmental laws and regulations administered by the various regulatory programs within the departments located within the Agency of Natural Resources. It records and assigns potential environmental violations (citizen complaints) for investigation. CED also provides investigative services for the Natural Resources Board (the administrators of Act 250, Vermont's land use law). In cooperation with the Vermont Law School, CED hosts legal interns who have an interest in environmental law.
The Environmental Investigation Section of CED is staffed by a Chief Environmental Enforcement Officer located in Waterbury and six Environmental Enforcement Officers (EEOs) located within designated geographical districts throughout the state. This section investigates alleged violations of any/all of Vermont's environmental rules, regulations, and statutes that are under the jurisdiction of DEC and/or DFPR. Many of these investigations are subsequently referred to the Legal Section for formal enforcement actions.
The Legal Section of the CED is staffed by three attorneys, one of whom is also the Director of the Division. This unit pursues formal enforcement actions which may conclude in a negotiated settlement or, if contested, a trial before a judge of the Environmental Division of the Superior Court. These actions, whether settled or litigated, seek penalties, remediation and other conditions as necessary. We refer a number of major cases to the Attorney General or the U.S. Attorney's Office which may file and prosecute a civil action, or, if justified by the nature of the offense, a criminal charge. We work cooperatively with the Environmental Protection Agency on cases that have significant violations. Lesser criminal offenses may also be referred to the State's Attorney in the county where the offense occurred.
The Environmental Compliance Section contains the Salvage Yard Unit which is staffed by an inspector who is responsible for regular, multi-media inspections of all of Vermont's salvage yards.
Environmental Assistance - part of the DEC Commissioner's Office.
The Environmental Assistance Office is comprised mostly of
non-regulatory programs. The Office provides guidance to
permit applicants, offers environmental compliance assistance
to Vermont businesses and municipalities, and provides assistance
to municipal household hazardous waste programs. Office staff
assist businesses, communities, state agencies, and others
to identify effective and economical ways to reduce waste at
the source in order to avoid waste treatment and disposal costs
and to safeguard human health and the environment.
Business Compliance Assistance: Got
environmental compliance questions? The Small Business Compliance
Assistance Program (SBCAP) has the answers. The
SBCAP provides no-cost, confidential compliance assistance
to Vermont businesses.
Municipal Compliance Assistance: Most
towns have limited resources available to deal with environmental
compliance issues. The
Municipal Compliance Assistance Program (MCAP) provides no-cost,
confidential compliance assistance to Vermont municipalities.
Contact MCAP to ask a question or to arrange an on-site compliance
Prevention Planning & Assistance: Office
staff assist businesses, communities, state
agencies, and others to identify effective
and economical ways to reduce
waste at the source - the prevention of
waste at the source before it is created
and substitution of non-toxic materials,
possible - in order to avoid
waste treatment and
disposal costs and to safeguard human health and the
environment. Companies subject to Vermont's Pollution Prevention
Planning law complete and submit Annual Progress
Vermont Governor's Awards for Environmental Excellence
& Pollution Prevention: The annual awards honor the foresight and actions taken by
Vermonters who contribute to the protection of Vermont's
environment, the safety of its citizens, and the health
of its economy.
Partnership: The Vermont Business/Environmental Partnership is sponsored
by the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation and
the Vermont Small Business Development Center. The goals
of the Partnership are to achieve greater environmental
performance and to promote public recognition of environmental
in the Green Mountain State: Vermont's Green Hotels and Environmental Partners are using
sound environmental management practices to reduce their impacts
on the environment, improve their bottom line and satisfy customer
demand for environmentally conscious lodging establishments.
The Green Hotels in the Green Mountain State program provides
assistance to Innkeepers desiring to achieve these goals.
Mercury Education & Reduction
Campaign: The Mercury Education & Reduction
Campaign (MERC) was developed by the Division to increase
awareness of the environmental
impacts of mercury and to reduce mercury pollution at its
source. MERC also administers Vermont's mercury-added product
The Facilities Engineering Division administers state and federal
pollution control funding programs, assists municipalities
through the planning and construction of pollution control
projects, provides fund administration for other Department
of Environmental Conservation grant and loan programs, and
provides project engineering and implementation services to
the Agency for a variety of projects, including construction
and maintenance of state park facilities, fish culture stations,
access areas, and dams. The Division also operates the Dam
Safety Program, which carries out inspections of non-power
dams and the review of plans for dam construction or alteration.
The Agency Facilities Section provides
engineering and project implementation services to the Agency’s
three departments for a variety of construction and maintenance
projects, including fish hatcheries,
access areas, state park facilities, and dams.
The Dam Safety Section manages
State Dam Safety Program, operates, maintains, and periodically
inspects the Winooski Valley Flood Control Dams and the Agency’s
other 89 dams. The section operates a permit program for construction
and alteration of non-hydroelectric dams (the Public Service
Board regulates hydroelectric dams). The section inspects other
dams (owned by other agencies, municipalities, and private
individuals) on a resources-available basis, maintains an inventory
and provides dam safety information to dam owners and operators.
The Design Section assists and directs
municipalities through the planning and design phases for wastewater
collection system and treatment
facility construction or upgrade projects and for combined sewer
overflow abatement projects.
The Construction Section performs
construction phase technical and administrative overview functions
for water supply and pollution control facilities
Financial Management: This
section processes the grant and loan documents and payments
for the pollution control funding programs administered by
Division, and for the water supply, solid waste, and aquatic
nuisance funding programs of other divisions. It also performs
audit functions for these programs.
MANAGEMENT & PREVENTION -
The Waste Management & Prevention Division oversees the use, treatment, and
handling of hazardous and solid wastes. The Division performs
emergency response for hazardous materials spills, issues permits
for federal and state programs regulating hazardous wastes,
solid wastes, and underground storage tanks, and manages cleanup
at hazardous sites under state and federal authorities, including
the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and the Comprehensive
Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA,
also known as Superfund).
The Management and Prevention
Section performs permitting and compliance inspections for hazardous
waste facilities, including locations where wastes are generated,
stored, treated, or disposed. Staff also performs hazardous
waste planning activities.
The Sites Management Section performs
activities at petroleum and chemical release locations ranging
immediate control, to long-term hydrogeologic
and risk assessment studies at Superfund sites. Project management
administration and cost control for funds
expended from the Petroleum Cleanup Fund and Environmental
Technical Services is comprised
of the Spill Response program, the
Underground Storage Tank (UST) program, and technical support
graphics, and presentations) to the Division. The UST program
permits and conducts inspections of UST facilities to ensure
with regulations. Spill response program staff work to ensure
hazardous materials are properly investigated, cleaned up and
Staff members in the Recycling Section
work with the state agencies, businesses, communities, and others
to identify effective and economical ways to reduce, re-use,
or recycle waste as a means of conserving natural resources,
minimizing waste treatment and disposal costs, and protecting
The Solid Waste Management Program staff
helps solid waste management districts plan and comply
with Act 78,
Vermont’s solid waste management
law. Solid Waste also certifies landfills
and all other solid waste facilities,
inspects these facilities, enforces
and reviews and approves applications
for solid waste grant
The Solid Waste Certification and
Compliance staff writes certifications for all solid waste management
landfills, recycling centers, transfer stations, waste haulers
and trash incineration facilities. Oversees bottle bill program.
Once certifications are issued, staff inspects facilities and
investigates and recommends enforcement for certification violations.
The Solid Waste Technical Assistance staff
members review engineering plans for solid waste facilities
of the permit process. They
work with solid waste facility operators, towns, and solid
waste districts to provide technical review, and assess the
need for and types of hydrological studies required for solid
waste facility sites. Implement solid waste planning and data
The goal of the Watershed Management
Division is to maintain and enhance
the quality of Vermont’s
lakes, rivers, and wetlands to support
healthy ecosystems and appropriate public uses. Division
programs address many issues,
including physical and chemical characteristics
of surface waters, aquatic habitat, streamflow, stream morphology,
exotic species, and wetland and riparian zone protection.
Administration and Compliance Program
The Administration and Compliance Program supports the division's permitting programs and general business processes. The staff provides specific program support for the Stormwater, Wastewater, Lakes and Ponds, Wetlands, and Rivers programs, as well as provides general division-wide administrative support.
Ecosystem Restoration Program
The Ecosystem Restoration Program provides leadership, financial resources, technical and educational assistance, and a sustained commitment to ensure that Vermont achieves and maintains high water quality standards, healthy and naturally stable rivers, well- functioning wetlands, floodplains, and river corridors that can protect against flood impacts, and clean and well-buffered lakes.
Lakes and Ponds
The Lakes and Ponds Program monitors and seeks to improve the water quality of lakes and ponds. Staff provides assistance to municipalities, lake associations, and individuals. Staff also administer permits for aquatic nuisance control and for encroachments into lakes and ponds.
Monitoring, Assessment, & Planning
The Monitoring, Assessment and Planning Program (MAPP) integrates three components of the Vermont water pollution control program. MAPP measures water quality indicators and evaluates these indicators in light of applicable standards or thresholds. Information about the condition of waters is then used to develop watershed plans that target waters for protection or remediation.
River Corridor and Floodplain Management: The Program carries out stream geomorphic and habitat assessments and river corridor planning to assist in the management of river systems and floodplains toward their highest ecological integrity and equilibrium conditions. River Scientists and Floodplain Managers provide technical and regulatory assistance for projects in river corridor and floodplains to avoid and mitigate flood and fluvial erosion hazards; restore and protect the instream processes and floodplain functions (equilibrium conditions) to increase retention of sediments, nutrients, and riparian habitat features. This section also manages the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) for Vermont.
River Management: The Program provides technical and regulatory assistance for those activities that involve construction or excavation in rivers and streams. River Management Engineers issue stream alteration permits and provide river diagnostics, alternatives analysis, project design, and construction inspection for instream work and technical assistance during flood recovery operations.
Streamflow Protection: Protection of flows in rivers and streams is critical for fish and other aquatic life that depend on high quality aquatic habitat to thrive. The Program maintains and restores natural streamflows by regulating the water withdrawals and hydropower projects that are designed to provide public benefits. We also work to restore connectivity within our rivers and streams by identifying dams that no longer serve a useful purpose and facilitating their removal.
The Stormwater Program provides technical assistance and regulatory oversight to ensure that stormwater discharges are managed in a way that meets the requirements of the Vermont Water Quality Standards. The program is responsible for defining those discharges which are required to obtain a stormwater discharge permit and determining treatment and control requirements necessary to minimize the adverse impacts of stormwater run-off.
Discharge Permits: A discharge permit is required whenever an individual, municipality or company wants to discharge waste directly to the waters of the state. Some industries are also required to treat waste before sending it to a municipal wastewater treatment facility.
Wastewater Treatment Facility Operations and Management: This group performs oversight functions of municipally-owned wastewater treatment facilities, and of privately-owned treatment and pretreatment facilities. In addition to performing certification and training programs, periodic discharge sampling for permit compliance checks, and laboratory evaluations, this group also assists municipal officials in the proper budgeting of their wastewater facilities.
Residuals Management: This group oversees the management of the state's residuals, such as septage and wastewater sludge. Permits are required for treatment, storage, or disposal of these residuals and for the operation or construction of facilities that handle them.
The Vermont Wetlands Program is responsible for identifying and protecting wetlands and the functions and values they provide. Activities to achieve these goals include education, project review, and enforcement. The Vermont Wetlands Program is responsible for the administration, implementation and informal interpretation of the Vermont Wetland Rules; for providing advisory recommendations on Act 250 projects with potential wetland impacts to the District Environmental Commissions; and for the review of wetland projects which fall under federal jurisdiction (Section 404 of the Clean Water Act) to ensure that State water quality standards are met.
DRINKING WATER AND GROUNDWATER PROTECTION
The Drinking Water and Groundwater Protection Division protects public health by assuring safe, affordable drinking water and by managing the water resources
which provide drinking water.
The Engineering and Financial Services Section
administers the construction permits program for public water
systems; manages the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund Loan
Program for system improvements; and the Capacity Development
Program designed to help systems meet the provisions of the
Federal Safe Drinking Water Act.
The Operations and Compliance Section assures
public water system compliance with the Federal Safe Drinking
Water Act, Vermont statutes, and the Vermont Water Supply Rule.
The section facilitates this assurance by way of providing
water system operator education and training; conducting sanitary
surveys; issuing operating permits, certifying operators; technical
assistance; management of emergency events; and the investigation
of contamination events and population disease outbreaks.
The Support and Planning Section is
responsible for managing the long– and
short-term strategic and financial
planning for the Division; security and emergency response
planning; support for the
Division; and general outreach
and education. This section also is responsible
for the administration of the
Intended Use Plan and budget management of the Drinking Water
State Revolving Fund.
The Water Resources Section
manages public water, source-related
activities and groundwater protection such as source permits,
well driller licensing and well completion reports, groundwater
reclassification, drought assistance, investigation of potential
sources of contamination and source protection planning and
Underground Injection Control
Site Designer Licensing
Wastewater-related Permit Documents Search
Indirect Discharge Permits: This section issues permits for land-based sewage treatment
systems larger than 6,500 gallons per day, such as septic tank-leach
field systems and treatment facility-spray field systems. In
these systems, soils are part of the processes providing further
treatment of the sewage.
Engineering Services: Wastewater System and Potable
Water Supply - This section issues water
supply and subsurface wastewater disposal permits required for
all buildings other than single family homes
and all permits for subdivisions, sewer line extensions, mobile
home parks and campgrounds which have flows less than 6,500 gallons
per day. Any subdivided lot under ten acres is regulated by this
process. If the subdivision involves ten or more lots, it may
be regulated by Act 250. Engineers in regional offices review
applications and make permit decisions.