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What went wrong at the waste water treatment plant Tuesday Night

3 M gallons of storm and wastewater release into Lake Champlain

Burlington, Vt. - City Officials are providing more clarification on the 58 minutes that partially treated storm and waste water was released into Lake Champlain Tuesday night.

Chapin Spencer Burlington Department of Public Works Director says the dependability of the automated plant was the reason there was no one at the plant that night.

"This plant is able and designed to run without staff during off peak times. For decades this plant has operated without staffing reliably and dependably. Until these last two equipment failures there was no indication that this plant was reaching end of life," said Spencer.

Now the DPW has been put on notice to come up with a plan to reinvest in this critical infrastructure and prevent these releases from occurring.

"With these two incidents our redoubling our Capital Plan efforts as the Mayor has directed us to bring a plan to the city council by December 1st," said Spencer.

Two employees responded to the plant and one worked remotely to fix the problem.

"Within 15 minutes staff was adjusting controls remotely to add disinfection," said Spencer.

Both were in contact with their supervisor during the incident and at the end of their shift

"The challenge and the failure were the computer system was not receiving those directions and initiating the disinfection pump," said Spencer.

Regardless folks, like Donna Simone, are still concerned about the health of the lake with the latest spills

It's just shamefully and it’s disheartening, this is Vermont, and this is our prime place, the lake," said Simone.

Worried about one of Vermont’s most precious natural resources

Test results from this morning have come back below the EPA's standard for e-coli.

Spencer says the warning signs at the effected locations will be removed.


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