Middlebury

MiddLab

A MiddLab Project

Arsenic Contamination in Vermont’s Private Wells

Learn more about Environmental Studies at Middlebury College.

The Environmental Studies Senior Seminar (ENVS 401) is the capstone course for the Environmental Studies major. The goal of this course is to bring seniors from the various foci within the Environmental Studies major together to examine a specific topic in depth from an interdisciplinary perspective. The course follows a service-learning teaching model, which combines collaborative work with a community organization, scholarly reading, classroom discussions, and reflective writing. Topics of ENVS 401 vary from semester to semester, but focus on issues with relevance to the local region as well as the global environment. Our theme for this semester was “The Groundwater Resource: Global Concerns, Local Perspectives.”

The class split into three groups: the survey group, partnering with the Vermont Department of Health; the spatial group, partnering with the Vermont Geological Survey; and the policy group, partnering with State Senator Virginia Lyons. The goal of the survey group was to evaluate the public’s knowledge of their well water and testing recommendations in a study area in Rutland County. The goal of the spatial group was to investigate the incidence of high arsenic well test results and the relationship between bedrock and high arsenic to locate areas of concern in Vermont. The goal of the policy group was to provide our community partner with information pertinent to advancing the policy discussion regarding private well testing regulations in Vermont. We used our research to create a policy framework that the legislature worked off of in the 2010-2011 legislative season.

People

As Levels in Groundwater Wells from Southwestern Vermont

Related Links

Downloads

Pier LaFarge ‘11 offers policy recommendations to the Vermont Senate's committee on natural resources and energy in Montpelier on Feb. 9.

Project Timeline

Sept.-Dec. 2010
Class research culminating in final report and presentation.
February 7, 2011
Testify before the Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee in support of their policy proposal
March 18, 2011
Policy unanimously passes the Senate Natural Resources Committee and is referred to the full Senate
April 6, 2011
Policy passes the full Senate and is referred to the House Committee on Fish, Wildlife, and Water Resources
April 14, 2011
Testify by phone for the House Committee on Fish, Wildlife, and Water Resources
April 29, 2011
Policy unanimously passes the House Committee on Fish, Wildlife, and Water Resources and is referred to the full House
May 3, 2011
Policy passes House with an amendment that sends it back to the Senate
May 4, 2011
Senate concurs with amendment
May 5, 2011
Bill passes both Senate and House and is awaiting signature by the Governor
May 26, 2011
Governor Shumlin vetoes the bill.

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