Colchester, VT — An issue on the Town Meeting Day ballot has residents divided over the best plan to keep the waters of Malletts Bay clean.

A proposed sewer project would connect 289 properties on the water to a South Burlington plant, and while everyone agrees that Malletts Bay is in need of a solution, people are split over whether this is an appropriate course of action.

“It is addressing the failing septic systems which is basically pouring human feces into the water which is creating human e-coli which is a big problem if you are swimming in the water,” said Jeffrey Bartley of Colchester for Clean Water.  

On the other hand, Jack Scully, Co-Chairman of Friends at Malletts Bay says, “This is overkill. It’s a waste of money, it’s putting all of our dollars like at the roulette wheel. They’re taking one shot to try to deal with the problem.”

The plan to connect part of Malletts Bay to a South Burlington water treatment isn’t a new one, as it has been on the ballot before in 2009 and 2019.

“We learned from previous failures. 76% of the money is coming from the American Rescue Plan.”

Opponents are concerned that placing more infrastructure by the bay will lead to more sewage leaks. “We think that’s a bad solution so close to the lake,” said Scully.

Scully and other opponents add that it only addresses the human waste impact about 8 percent and is an ineffective use of money.

Colchester’s Director of Public Works says they’ve had 17 septic failures over the last twelve years, which is three to four times higher than any other area in Colchester.