Middlebury

MiddLab

Resource Management

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

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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.
Intensive herbivory by white-tailed deer has plagued Valley Forge National Historical Park’s forests since the early 1980s. A deer management plan was enacted to reduce the size of the herd by at least 1000 deer over the next two years. The goal of my research was to model the impacts of changing levels of deer herbivory on the forests. I developed a forest model using data from a large deer exclosure erected in the park in the late 1980s. I am using the model to simulate how changes in herbivory and disturbance may affect forest composition over the next 120 years. My results suggest that changes in herbivory may be a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for restoring forests to their historical state. The finished model will serve as a tool for the park’s resource managers to use in developing long-term restoration plans.

People

Meghan Blumstein
Researcher

Andrea Lloyd
Sponsor & Professor of Biology

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The Indo-US 123 agreement will allow nuclear energy to become a vital part in India’s domestic energy supply. Nuclear energy could provide India 35% of its energy supply by 2050, reducing its CO2 emissions. It will substitute for the energy baseline which has been fossil-fuel based until now. India is the third highest CO2 emitter globally and the role of nuclear energy as a baseline will be vital to CO2 emission reduction goals. Foreign involvement in the Indian nuclear sector will aid the development of India’s three-stage programme, which will help to sustain its growing energy demand. In addition to providing an alternate baseline to coal, nuclear energy will increase domestic self-sustainability and reduce dependence on fossil fuels in a cost-effective manner. As a combination of multiple efforts, domestic, bi-lateral and international, the nuclear energy transition will assume an important role in India and this represents successful global environmental policy.

People

Siddheshwar Singh
Researcher

Jon Isham
Sponsor & Associate Professor of Economics

Related Links

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Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL). “CANDU Reactors.”

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CNN-IBN. “The Big Story: NSG clears nuclear waiver for India.” September 2008.

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Godsberg, Alicia. Federation of American Scientists. “Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons [NPT].”

Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR). “Government of India: Department of Atomic Energy: Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research.” October 2010.

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). “Stakeholder Involvement in Nuclear Issues.” September 2006.

International Monetary Fund (IMF). “SDRs per Currency unit and Currency units per SDR last five days.” October 2010.

Kiran. “Greenpeace’s India 2050 Energy Scenario.” The Indic View. Blogspot, 10 April 2007.

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McDermott, Matthew. Treehugger. “India’s Draft Solar Power Plan Sees 200,000 MW Installed By 2050.” June 2009.

Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF). Government of India. “India: Taking On Climate Change – Post-Copenhagen Domestic Actions.” 30 June 2010.

Neuhof, Florian. Utilities-me. “Lighting up India.” August 2010.

Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL). “Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited: A Government of India Enterprise.” October 2010.

Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL). “Plants Under Operation.” September 2010.

Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL). “Projects Under Construction.”

Nuclear Weapon Archive (NWA). “India’s Nuclear Weapons Program – Smiling Buddha: 1974.”

Page, Jeremy. The Times. “India promises 12,000% boost in nuclear capacity by 2050.” September 2009.

Press Trust of India (PTI). The Hindu. “N-deal: India says reprocessing talks will take time.” November 2009.

PRS Legislative Research (PRS). “Bill Summary: The Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Bill, 2010.” May 2010.

Rajesh, Y.P. Indian Express. “Nuclear deal crucial to meet India’s energy needs: Kakodkar.” July 2010.

Science Daily. “Climate Change: Halving Carbon Dioxide Emissions By 2050 Could Stabilize Global Warming.” May 2009.

United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD). “Millennium Development Goals Indicators.” June 2010.

World Nuclear Association (WNA). “Nuclear Power in France.” October 2010.

World Nuclear Association (WNA). “Nuclear Power Reactors.” October 2009.

Yahoo! Finance, India. “Indian Rupee to U.S. Dollar Exchange Rate.” October 2010.

Sites DOT Middlebury: the Middlebury site network.