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Wednesday, June 13, 2018
Vermont: Failing drinking water system costs condo association $19.5K in fines

Killington, Vt. – The Agency of Natural Resources’ Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced Tuesday that Hemlock Ridge at Killington Owners Association, Inc., a condominium complex in Killington, was fined $19,500 for many years of failing to properly manage and maintain the public drinking water system supplying the complex.

Public community water systems in Vermont are systems that provide drinking water to a range of users, from systems that provide drinking water to condominium users, like the water system serving Hemlock Ridge at Killington condominiums, to systems that provide drinking water to residents in the largest municipalities in the State. Regardless of size, managing a public drinking water system comes with the responsibility to maintain water quality standards and protect public health. DEC oversees public water systems by issuing permits, completing inspections, and reviewing water quality reports. The Division also provides resources and guidance about routine sampling to measure water quality and how to manage emergencies.

“Protecting the quality of Vermont’s drinking water means that we take care of the resource from source to tap,” says Emily Boedecker, Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation. “From protecting groundwater sources to requiring safe water lines and equipment—the whole process is critical to maintaining public health.”

Water quality sampling performed at the water system serving Hemlock Ridge at Killington condominiums produced results which more often than not were above the maximum contaminant level allowed for radium. While radium is naturally-occurring, when it exceeds the maximum contaminant level, it can adversely affect the health of the users. In 2010, during a routine inspection, DEC also determined that the age and integrity of the water storage tank serving the system was of concern and that the tank was nearing the end of its useful life. DEC required the water system to submit plans to install treatment to address radium contamination and to replace the water storage tank.

Additionally, in September 2012, the water system’s lead levels exceeded the federal action level. The most common source of lead in drinking water is from corrosion of plumbing components that contain lead. If lead levels exceed the action level, a water system must perform a series of several activities, including notifying and providing lead education materials to its users. The water system serving Hemlock Ridge at Killington condominiums did not follow the required directives in a timely manner.

As a result of DEC’s enforcement efforts, Hemlock Ridge at Killington Owners Association, Inc. has provided lead education materials to water system users and identified a potential corrosion control measure that can be taken by the water system should the lead action level be exceeded in the future. The water system is also working toward the installation of treatment to address elevated radium concentrations and the replacement of the failing water storage tank. The water system agreed to a $19,500 fine for these longstanding violations, an amount that was approved by the Vermont Superior Court Environmental Division on May 9, 2018. The water system has until September to submit final designs and apply for a permit to install radium treatment and to construct a new water storage tank.

For more information about DEC’s Drinking Water and Groundwater Protection Division, including information about radium, lead, and other contaminants, in drinking water visit http://dec.vermont.gov/water/drinking-water

Contact: Diane Sherman, Agency of Natural Resources, 802-505-0125, diane.sherman@vermont.gov


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