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Burlington wants voters on board with $30M wastewater plant upgrade

Last improvements made in 1994

Burlington's main wastewater treatment plant, in the city's South End, has accidentally discharged more than 12 million gallons of partially treated storm- and wastewater into Lake Champlain this year.

On Thursday, Mayor Miro Weinberger and public works officials rolled out a $30 million dollar to upgrade the city's massive network of pipes, pumps and sewer lines, which was last upgraded in 1994. 

The proposal would go to the voters in November if City Council approves it. A vote by the council is scheduled for Monday. 

"This plan, the one we are announcing today includes overdue investments in our wastewater and stormwater systems that will stabilize the parts of our system that have been breaking, are at highest risk of breaking in the future, will modernize that system and upgrade that system in key areas," said Mayor Weinberger.

Burlington residents would see an estimated $5 increase in their monthly water bills, according to the city, which anticipates receiving grants and additional funding from the state to bring that could lower the cost.

"I firmly believe the public is very supportive of this plan; of all the issues in Burlington that people disagree about, I think this is a plan that people are going to overwhelmingly support," said City Council President Kurt Wright.

There will also be an open town hall event at which people can tour the city's main wastewater treatment plant. If the plan goes on the ballot and passes, investments would begin this winter.

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