VT Drafts Lake Champlain Clean Up Plan

By Rachel Aragon | raragon@nexstar.tv

Published 08/29 2016 08:57PM

Updated 08/29 2016 09:37PM

Vermont has drafted a plan to clean up Lake Champlain. The state wants to reduce the amount of phosphorus pollution entering Vermont's clean waters.
 
At Machia & Sons Dairy farm in Sheldon, a centrifuge is removing nearly half of the phosphorus from the farm's manure and it's believed to be the only one of its kind in the Northeast.
 
"The purpose of that is we're trying to get the phosphorus out of the watershed in this area so we can make Lake Champlain clean," says manager, Chad Machia.
 
Phosphorus is a nutrient within fertilizer and manure. But phosphorous runoff from heavy rains can lead to toxic algae blooms in nearby water sources.

The state says agriculture accounts for about 40 percent of phosphorus pollution in Lake Champlain.
 
"Clearly agriculture is part of the problem, and clearly agriculture has got to be part of the solution," says Vermont Agency of Agriculture Secretary, Chuck Ross. 
 
Now the state wants to help get other farms get on board by taking an aggressive step towards removing pollutants, either through advanced technology or advanced training, including nutrient management workshops. 
 
"We're going to have custom manure application training, we'll have large, medium, and small farms being inspected," says Secretary Ross.
 
The state's goal in all this is to clean up Lake Champlain and meet new phosphorus pollution limits. But while the state wants to meet the new pollution targets set by the US Environmental Protection Agency in June, it says cleaner fertilizer and manure isn't so bad for farmers either. 
 
"Many of the things we're asking for is actually in their farming interest and improvement to their business interest as well," says Secretary Ross. 
 
According to the Lake Champlain Basin Program, the lake generates $300 million in Vermont tourism every year.

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