Opportunities for Action: An Evolving Plan for the Future of the Lake Champlain Basin

Skip navigation

Reducing Toxic Substances and Pathogens

About This Chapter

The Goal

Reduce contaminants that pose a risk to public health and the Lake Champlain ecosystem.

Introduction

A toxic spill can result in fish death

Toxic substances include a diverse group of chemical contaminants, both natural and man-made, that can adversely affect plants, animals, humans, and the overall quality of the Lake Champlain ecosystem. Their impacts may be acute, occurring immediately, or they may be chronic, occurring after a prolonged period of exposure. Exposure to these substances may carry a risk of injury or illness to humans and other organisms. Toxicity varies based on the physical properties, quantity, and persistence of these compounds in the environment. Adverse effects of some substances have been observed in the Lake, but the long-term effects on the ecosystem, aquatic life, and human health of persistent, low-level exposure to many chemicals are not well understood. Even at very low concentrations, certain types of chemicals may affect the reproduction, development, behavior, and survival of aquatic organisms. Pathogens are infectious agents that cause illness, and, where they occur in the waters of the Lake Champlain Basin, they pose a risk to human health.

Back to Top

Categories of Contaminants

The Lake Champlain Basin Program (LCBP) Toxics Management Workgroup has identified toxic substances of concern, grouped into several categories, and will publish a Lake Champlain Toxic Management Strategy report. More information about each of these substances will be found in the report, anticipated for release in 2011. Other contaminants of concern include pathogens such as E. coli and minerals such as road salt.

Bioaccumulating Toxins

This group includes substances that persist in the environment and increase in concentration with each step up in the food web. Bioaccumulating toxins are incorporated into plankton, which are eaten by fish, in which they may accumulate and become concentrated. Fish that eat these fish then accumulate the toxins in ever higher concentrations. Examples of bioaccumulating toxic substances currently found in the Lake Champlain Basin include mercury, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and dioxins (from pesticides). These substances are typically found in sediments or are deposited from wind currents on which they are transported from locations outside of the Basin. Mercury is one example of a toxic substance whose source is now predominantly atmospheric deposition. Achieving the reduction targets of the Northeast Regional Mercury TMDL will significantly advance the states toward their goal of reducing mercury levels enough to eliminate fish consumption advisories. In addition, the northeast states filed a §319(g) petition for the US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) to convene a management conference of states that are contributing nonpoint source (atmospheric deposition) pollution that is, in part, causing water-quality impairments in our states. Vermont and New York continue to be very active in these mercury-control efforts using Clean Water Act tools for the benefit of Lake Champlain and many other fresh waters in the northeast.

Cyanobacterial Toxins

Cyanobacteria

Two toxins of primary concern in Lake Champlain are anatoxin and microcystin, which are produced by several species of cyanobacteria that form blooms under certain environmental conditions. These cyanobacteria blooms are frequently caused by combinations of excess nutrients present in the water column and warm, calm surface waters. Excess nutrients can come from sources higher up in the watershed that are delivered through the tributary network or from within the Lake’s sediments. More information about these issues can be found in Chapter 4, Reducing Phosphorus Pollution.

Pesticides

This group includes all chemical compounds that are used to control or limit the growth of nuisance plants, animals, and fungi and includes herbicides, lampricides, insecticides, and fungicides. These compounds are found in the Lake, often from runoff from agricultural fields, urban lawns, and golf courses as well as other commercial and residential applications.

Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products (PPCPs)

pharmaceuticals

This group includes all forms of medications, fragrances, surfactants, detergents, and antimicrobial additives. This group is an emerging issue; many PPCPs have been detected in the Lake, but the impacts of their presence are still under investigation. Recent research indicates that many PPCPs (hormones, in particular) do impact several forms of aquatic biota, although the short- and long-term effects of most PPCPs on the Lake ecosystem remain unknown. PPCPs typically enter the Lake via wastewater treatment systems as they are washed off or excreted and flushed through the wastewater system.

Trace Elements

This group includes such elements as arsenic, manganese, cadmium, chromium, lead, nickel, silver, zinc, and copper; all of which are persistent in the environment in localized areas (i.e., sediment or fish) at levels above current human and wildlife health guidelines. Sources include historical contamination at industrial sites in the Basin, atmospheric deposition, aquatic nuisance control activities, natural geological formations, and stormwater runoff events.

Other Toxins

This group includes a variety of toxic substances not identified in the groups above, such as chlorinated phenols, polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), persistent organics, and solvents.

Pathogens

Beach closure signage.

These disease-causing agents also occasionally pose a health risk in the Lake Champlain Basin. Pathogens – such as bacteria, viruses, and parasites – can create gastrointestinal illness when ingested. Public beaches on the Lake are tested for coliform bacteria because it is an indicator that human or animal waste is in the water. New York, Québec, and Vermont all have their own monitoring protocols for popular beaches during the summer months.

Road Salts

This contaminant group includes sodium chloride and calcium chloride, both of which are used in road deicing during winter months throughout the Basin. Routine monitoring of these salts has indicated that concentrations have increased throughout the Lake and its tributaries during the last decade (LCBP Long-term Monitoring Program, unpublished data).

Back to Top

Sources of Toxins

Lake Champlain is well studied for some toxic substances (i.e., mercury and PCBs), but only recently have studies been initiated to look at newer types of toxic substances and their sources. Active sources, routes of transport, delivery methods, and quantity of these substances still need to be explored in order for management to be effective. Common sources of toxic substances include: spills, sewage, industry, stormwater runoff, combined sewer overflows, agriculture, landfills, hazardous waste sites, household hazardous materials, and atmospheric deposition. Once toxic substances enter the aquatic environment, they may accumulate in the sediments, remain suspended or dissolved in the water column, or be consumed or absorbed by aquatic organisms and enter the food chain. Some toxic compounds may change form and become different compounds with different properties and toxicities, and the synergistic effects of multiple toxins remains unknown.

Mercury in Lake Champlain Fish by Indicator Species

Mercury and PCBs remain a significant threat to the Lake and to human health. These substances persist in the environment and accumulate in sediments and aquatic organisms, including fish. Considerable research and management has been undertaken to reduce the level and threat of mercury and PCB contamination, although atmospheric deposition from sources beyond the Lake Champlain Basin remains the primary source of mercury. While new sources of PCBs within the Lake Champlain Basin have been minimized, PCBs continue to persist in the environment and need continued monitoring. Safe consumption of fish remains a top concern for people residing in the Basin; New York, Québec, and Vermont continue to issue fish consumption advisories in order to limit human exposure to mercury and PCBs.

The landscape of toxic contamination in Lake Champlain is changing. New chemicals are being used and introduced into the environment on a daily basis. Continual advances in analytical techniques allow for increased detection of compounds that are released into the environment from domestic, agricultural, and industrial applications. Pesticides, road salts, detergent additives, pharmaceuticals, and personal care products that are used in our daily lives are all compounds of emerging concern for the Lake Champlain ecosystem. Both the extent of contamination and the magnitude of potential effects from these compounds are poorly understood.

Back to Top

Monitoring Contaminants of Concern

Cyanobacteria monitoring in Missisquoi Bay

Cyanobacteria, commonly known as blue-green algae, are a normal part of the Lake Champlain ecosystem. However, high densities of algae in blooms can produce toxins that cause gastrointestinal problems, skin irritation, and, in high concentrations, can affect the liver and nervous system. Nearly annual blooms have been observed in some locations in Lake Champlain since 2000. The LCBP has coordinated blue-green algae monitoring in Lake Champlain for the last decade in partnership with the University of Vermont (UVM), the States of Vermont and New York, the Lake Champlain Committee, and the Province of Québec. Monitoring occurs on all sections of the lake. The Québec Ministère du Développement durable, de l’Environnement et des Parcs (Ministry of Sustainable Development and Parks) monitors Missisquoi Bay north of the border and sends regular information to Vermont and New York about conditions in Canadian waters. Monitoring in US waters happens through a partnership that includes citizen volunteers. Weekly testing occurs from July through early September. UVM summarizes the results of this testing and circulates information about Lake conditions to public health officials. Public information about conditions, and any beach closures or public health hazards are posted on the Vermont Department of Health and the LCBP web sites. Public alerts (including a map) direct Lake users to areas that are generally safe and list any areas that contain algae accumulations and should be avoided. This monitoring and alert system has successfully prevented people from adverse exposure to cyanotoxins; since implementation, no documented major illnesses based on exposure to cyanotoxins have been recorded.

A recent study conducted by US Geological Survey (USGS) in the Lake Champlain Basin indicated that domestic and agricultural chemicals and their breakdown products have been detected in Lake Champlain and its tributaries (Phillips and Chalmers 2009). More than seventy different chemicals were identified in the study, including flavorants, fire retardants, plasticizers, pesticides, fragrances, pharmaceuticals, and detergent degradates. Many of these chemicals enter surface water through the wastewater stream. Wastewater treatment facilities remove many types of contaminants, preventing them from entering surface water, but no facility or treatment process is capable of removing all compounds. The highest concentrations of pharmaceuticals and antimicrobials detected in the USGS study were found in the effluent of the wastewater treatment plant that services a hospital. High concentrations were also detected during combined sewer overflow events, when some waste bypasses the treatment plant. However, few contaminants were detected in the waters of Lake Champlain itself.

The co-occurrence of these compounds with caffeine emphasizes the degree to which Basin residents are both the source of and solution to this issue and the heretofore unpredictable fates of these compounds is being clarified by new science outside of the Lake Champlain Basin. For one example, recent literature suggests that dioxin-like compounds found in sediments may be the partial product of waste treatment reactions with the common antibacterial compound triclosan (Buth et al. 2010). Many aspects of emerging contaminants still require assessment in the Lake Champlain Basin (e.g., incidence of agricultural hormones, the effects of exposure to mixtures of very low-level compounds). Management of these compounds relies on personal choice in the products we use and industry response to the public requirement for products with lower levels of toxic compounds. This is exemplified by very significant documented declines in the estrogen-mimicking compound p-nonylphenol due to its removal from detergents by manufacturers (Phillips 2010). Research and management must now focus on these new-generation contaminants.

Back to Top

Toxin Reduction Efforts

Detection of chemicals in Lake Champlain and its tributaries indicates that management and preventive measures may be necessary to reduce potential threats to the ecosystem and human health. The overall strategy for the management of toxic substances should be guided by a pollution prevention approach and the Precautionary Principle, which states that when there is a suspected health or environmental concern, preventive actions should be considered even without scientific certainty that harm will ensue. The precautionary principle is the central tenet of the European Union’s approach to management of hazardous and toxic substances in conjunction with the Restriction on Hazardous Substances Directive. Management for toxins should be employed at personal, business, municipal, and state levels. Every person living or working in the Basin has the responsibility and ability to minimize toxic substances from reaching the ecosystem.

Saranac River coal tar cleanup.

A new clean-up effort on the Saranac River in Plattsburgh, New York, began in June 2010. Sediments from the river bed are contaminated with coal tar from a former manufactured gas plant. This project, phased over 3 years, involves construction of temporary coffer dams to isolate work areas and provide for natural river flow and fish movement through the site, construction of a temporary water treatment plant, and erection of a structure to process the sediments as they are removed from the river bed and shipped off-site. This project is estimated to remove 40,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediments by project completion in 2012. The project also requires restoration of the river bed to original grades and substrate with clean new materials from a nearby quarry.

Vermont continues to implement the provisions of the 2007 mercury product legislation, which includes reviewing sale restriction exemption applications, updated labeling and notification plans, and maintaining the auto switch collection program. Additions to the law in 2008 established a thermostat collection incentive program with manufacturer-funded recycling and financial incentives. Vermont captured nearly 1,800 pounds of mercury-containing products, 33 pounds of elemental mercury, and 3 pound of mercury from more than 1.2 million fluorescent bulbs in 2008 (the most recent year for which data are completely available).

As part of an earlier project, Vermont’s Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets (VAAFM), its municipal solid waste districts, and Department of Environmental Conservation (VTDEC) located, removed, and replaced all known mercury manometers from working and nonworking dairy farms. A total of 180 manometers were removed and 159 non-mercury replacements were installed for a total of 77 pounds of mercury removed from Vermont farms.

Brownfields are also of concern to human health; these are parcels that could be expanded or redeveloped and may be contaminated by hazardous substances from previous uses. Redevelopment projects that are proposed for brownfields parcels are required to survey, clean up, and monitor potential contaminants before the project can occur. Redevelopment of brownfields parcels can help ease development pressure on green spaces and working landscapes, in addition to protecting the environment by mitigating the contaminated site. These projects are overseen by the USEPA Brownfields Program, and EPA grant funding is available for assessment, clean up, revolving loan funds, and job training.

The new framework of Opportunities for Action (OFA) identifies broad objectives designed to help managers better understand the issues and to make efforts to reduce contaminants in the waters of the Lake Champlain Basin more effective. The actions and tasks identified in this chapter will help partners work toward the goal of reducing contaminants that pose a risk to public health and the Lake Champlain ecosystem. Efforts made by all partners, including those listed in this plan, will promote the reduction of toxins, pathogens, and other contaminants of concern.

Back to Top

Citations

Buth, Jeffrey, Peter O. Steen, Charles Sueper, Dylan Blumentritt, Peter J. Vikesland, William A. Arnold, Kristopher McNeill. 2010. Dioxin photoproducts of triclosan and its chlorinated derivatives in sediment cores. Environmental Science & Technology 44(12): 4545-4551.

Phillips, P. and A. Chalmers. 2009. Wastewater effluent, combined sewer overflows, and other sources of organic compounds to Lake Champlain. Journal of American Water Resources Association 45(1): 45-57.

Phillips, Patrick. 2010. USGS. Personal Communication.

Back to Top

Chapter Objectives

  • Prevent pollution from toxic substances in the Lake Champlain Basin.
  • Meet existing human health standards and identify all public health risks related to drinking water, public contact, and fish consumption.
  • Improve public understanding of the impacts of toxic substances in Lake Champlain and the research and management programs related to toxic substances.
  • Communicate water-quality-related health risks to the public promptly and implement plans to reduce that risk.
  • Improve public understanding of health issues related to water recreation and drinking water.
  • Control sources of pathogens found in the Lake and its Basin to ensure drinkable and swimmable water and reduce the frequency of beach closures.

Associated Actions / Tasks

Click Expand Icon Next to each Action to see the associated Tasks

  • Completed Completed Task
  • Active Active Task
  • Inactive Inactive Task

Expand 5.1) Publish and implement the Lake Champlain Toxic Management Strategy that emphasizes pollution prevention while continuing to mitigate pollution problems throughout the Lake by 2015.

Associated Tasks ID # Lead Partners Updated Status
Work with the LCBP Toxics Management Workgroup to publish the Lake Champlain Toxic Management Strategy report by 2011. View Task Comments 5.1.1 LCBP 06-20-13 Completed
Revise and update the list of Toxic Substances of Concern and related strategies identified in the Management Strategy for the Basin every 3 years after publication. View Task Comments 5.1.2 LCBP 06-21-13 Active
Manage all reported chemical and petroleum spills in the New York portion of the Basin and remediate with NYS DEC oversight or, in the absence of a viable responsible party, by NYSDEC. View Task Comments 5.1.3 New York Inactive
Working from the List of Potentially Contaminated sites, New York will establish the actual status of all sites within the Lake Champlain Basin and develop Corrective Action Plans, as appropriate, by 2015. View Task Comments 5.1.4 New York Inactive
Finalize the designation of a vessel wastewater “No Discharge Zone” for the entire Champlain Canal by 2010 (complete in May 2010). View Task Comments 5.1.5 New York, USEPA 09-14-12 Completed
Revise the human-health-related water-quality standard for Arsenic by 2015 and establish an ambient water-quality value for PBDEs by 2011. View Task Comments 5.1.6 New York Inactive

Expand 5.2) Provide education and outreach to encourage homeowners, industries, health care facilities, businesses, governmental agencies, and public institutions to prevent pollution and recycle by 2015.

Associated Tasks ID # Lead Partners Updated Status
Provide technical notes from the scientific literature to watershed associations for interpretation to lay audiences annually. View Task Comments 5.2.1 LCBP 08-12-13 Active
Support mercury instrument exchange programs when and where possible. View Task Comments 5.2.2 LCBP 10-12-11 Active
Host a workshop for private, local, and state/provincial roadway deicing applicators to discuss methods to reduce road salt application by 2013. View Task Comments 5.2.3 LCBP 06-21-13 Active
LCBP will work with partners to promote sustainable business practices and encourage implementation of BMPs to reduce toxin pollution. Québec will do this on an annual basis, through education and outreach. Vermont will continue to focus on toxics use and waste reduction and environmentally preferable purchasing through the Vermont Business Environmental Partnership offered through the VTDEC. View Task Comments 5.2.4 LCBP, Québec, Vermont Inactive
Promote and maintain the Environmental Stewardship search engine to explore a variety of pollution prevention and recycling opportunities. View Task Comments 5.2.5 USEPA Inactive
Promote and distribute “Planning for a Sustainable Future” to local governments, with emphasis on the sections “Solid Waste Generation and Recycling” and “Protecting Water Quality and Ensuring Future Supply.” View Task Comments 5.2.6 USEPA Inactive
Continue development of EPA Partnership Programs that address a wide variety of environmental issues, including toxics and pathogens, by working in collaboration with companies, organizations, communities, and individuals within the Lake Champlain Basin. View Task Comments 5.2.7 USEPA Inactive
New York’s Pollution Prevention (P2) Institute will identify and prioritize facilities within the Basin that could benefit from environmental assessments or process improvements by 2015. View Task Comments 5.2.8 New York Inactive
New York’s Pollution Prevention (P2) Institute will conduct at least 1 workshop that targets a priority topic within the Basin by 2012. View Task Comments 5.2.9 New York Inactive
New York will conduct a pharmaceutical outreach effort in support of DEC’s “Don’t Flush Your Drugs” campaign, will conduct a pilot drug collection event for residents of the Basin, and will assist communities with local drug collection events by 2011. View Task Comments 5.2.10 New York 09-14-12 Active
NYSDEC will conduct a “Chemical Management” workshop for schools in the Basin by 2015. View Task Comments 5.2.11 New York Inactive
NYSDEC will develop and maintain a list of "green formulations" that can substitute for commonly used commercial and household chemical cleaners, fertilizers, and preservatives and promote the use of these green alternatives in the Lake Champlain watershed by 2015. View Task Comments 5.2.12 New York Inactive
NYSDEC will implement the “Be Green Organic Yards - NY Program” – a new initiative to foster organic landscaping practices. NYSDEC and LCBP will identify targets for media contact and web outreach by 2012. View Task Comments 5.2.13 LCBP, New York 09-14-12 Active
Continue to annually promote best management practices related to toxin use reduction programs and energy conservation by implementing the QC MDDEP’s 2006-2012 Climate Change Action Plan at and the Agence de l’efficacité énergétique du Québec. View Task Comments 5.2.14 Québec 02-23-12 Active
Encourage homeowners, industries, businesses, governmental agencies, and public institutions to prevent pollution and recycle through the VTDEC Small Business and Municipal Compliance Programs and pollution prevention programs. View Task Comments 5.2.15 Vermont Inactive
Implement mercury thermostat recycling programs at wholesaler and retailer locations to capture 65 percent or more of discarded thermostats (25-35 lbs of mercury per year) by 2013. View Task Comments 5.2.16 Vermont 12-22-11 Active
Implement mercury lamp recycling programs for residential and small business sectors to promote high rates of recycling (5-10 lbs of mercury per year), by 2012. View Task Comments 5.2.17 Vermont 12-22-11 Active
VAAFM will collect 285,000 pounds of pesticides through its waste pesticide collection program run in conjunction with Vermont Solid Waste District’s household hazardous waste collection events by 2010. This program began in 1991 and will continue to be active. View Task Comments 5.2.18 Vermont 12-22-11 Active
VAAFM will remove more than 2 pounds of mercury from the Vermont Maple Sugar Producer’s Mercury Thermometer Exchange Program by 2010. Additional mercury thermometers will be exchanged for digital replacements pending future funding. Update: 80 mercury thermometers were exchanged for digital instruments. View Task Comments 5.2.19 Vermont 10-23-12 Completed

Expand 5.3) Investigate and address the distribution, fate, and effects of contaminants of concern and sites of concern.

Associated Tasks ID # Lead Partners Updated Status
Coordinate a workshop to develop a Basin-wide database to track retail sales of pesticides, pharmaceuticals, veterinary medicines, fertilizer substances, and other materials containing toxics as identified on the list of Toxic Substance of Concern by 2014. View Task Comments 5.3.1 LCBP Inactive
Provide a statistically sound dataset on toxic substances of concern in fish tissue for coordinated management use by both human health officials and fish and wildlife managers by 2014. View Task Comments 5.3.2 LCBP 09-04-12 Completed
NYSDAM will expand New York’s Pesticide Monitoring program of groundwater to include, by 2015, an upstate county located within the Basin. View Task Comments 5.3.3 New York Inactive
Continue the ambient monitoring program (Rotating Integrated Basin Studies) utilizing bioassays to assess and identify aquatic toxicity concerns. Evaluate this program’s effectiveness in assessing overall aquatic habitat quality by 2015. View Task Comments 5.3.4 New York Inactive
Continue the fish-tissue monitoring program in Cumberland Bay to assess the effectiveness of the PCB remediation project completed in 2000, by 2015. View Task Comments 5.3.5 New York 09-14-12 Active
Inventory winter road salt use at state, county, and local levels. Identify areas that are particularly sensitive to road salt. View Task Comments 5.3.6 New York, Vermont Inactive
Continue groundwater monitoring for nutrients and pesticides associated with agricultural activities in order to evaluate whether these activities are contributing to contamination of the groundwater of Vermont. View Task Comments 5.3.7 Vermont 10-23-12 Active
Continue to monitor pesticides in the surface waters of Vermont as funding is available in order to better understand and manage mechanisms of pesticide runoff. View Task Comments 5.3.8 Vermont 10-23-12 Active
Continue to track commercial pesticide use in the Vermont sector of the Lake Champlain Basin and across Vermont to determine trends in pesticide use. View Task Comments 5.3.9 Vermont 10-23-12 Active

Expand 5.4) Implement actions to monitor, investigate the causes of, and reduce the frequency of blue-green algae toxins in the Lake.

Associated Tasks ID # Lead Partners Updated Status
Coordinate monitoring of blue-green algae blooms through 2011 and work to move monitoring responsibility to jurisdictional partners by 2015. New York and Vermont will monitor blue-green algae Lake-wide through the Long-Term Water Quality and Biological Monitoring Program. View Task Comments 5.4.1 LCBP, New York, Vermont 09-04-12 Active
Support and document research within the Lake Champlain Basin that will clarify the causes of localized blue-green algae blooms by 2015. View Task Comments 5.4.2 LCBP 03-04-11 Active
Provide annual updates on work completed under 2 grant programs (P2 and SRA, see below) as relevant to the Lake Champlain Basin and advertise funding opportunities to partners within the Basin as they become available. EPA’s Pollution Prevention Program administers 2 grants (the P2 Grants Program and the Source Reduction Assistance [SRA Grants Program). P2 grant dollars provide 50 percent matching funds, for state and tribal programs only, to support pollution prevention activities across all environmental media and to develop state- or tribal-based programs. SRA grant dollars require only 5 percent matching funds and are targeted at nonprofit organizations and state, county, municipal, and tribal technical assistance programs to help businesses and industries identify better environmental strategies and solutions for reducing or eliminating waste at the source across all environmental media. View Task Comments 5.4.3 USEPA 11-14-11 Active
The QCMDDEP will maintain its BGA monitoring program. Québec will coordinate research regarding cyanobacteria blooms, impacts and driving factors with Vermont based on the Blue-green Algae Action Plan 2007-2017. View Task Comments 5.4.4 Québec 03-19-13 Active
Provide cyanobacterial toxin testing through the Department of Health (VTDOH) Laboratory for water suppliers and waterfront homeowners at no or limited cost. View Task Comments 5.4.5 Vermont Inactive
Continue to provide data on cyanobacteria to Basin drinking water suppliers. Work with suppliers through their association to develop and modify appropriate monitoring and response strategies to the occurrence of cyanobacteria in the vicinity of drinking water intakes. View Task Comments 5.4.6 Vermont Inactive

Expand 5.5) Identify public health risks associated with toxic substances (including blue-green algae toxins) and communicate risk to the public through advisories from the three jurisdictions.

Associated Tasks ID # Lead Partners Updated Status
Update the LCBP website annually with interpretive materials and links to appropriate jurisdictional authorities for information about water-related public health issues. View Task Comments 5.5.1 LCBP 08-30-13 Active
Work with state and provincial departments of health to raise awareness and educate health care providers on symptoms of cyanobacteria toxicity by 2013. View Task Comments 5.5.2 LCBP, New York, Québec, Vermont 06-21-13 Active
Coordinate with ongoing efforts by the Centers for Disease Control and potential Office of Research and Development studies regarding cyanobacteria blooms, impacts, and driving factors. Update the LCBP Steering Committee with progress by May 2011. View Task Comments 5.5.3 USEPA 11-14-11 Active
Publish annual fish consumption advisories based on latest data available. View Task Comments 5.5.4 New York 09-14-12 Active
Publish health advisories about blue-green algae toxins and share best management practices to reduce algal growth. View Task Comments 5.5.5 Québec 03-19-13 Active
Continue to post information on current cyanobacteria advisories, bloom locations, and health-related information on the VTDOH webpage. Annually update and maintain interpretive and educational materials about cyanobacteria on VTDOH and VTDEC websites. Provide new health-related information as it becomes available. View Task Comments 5.5.6 Vermont Inactive
Continue to work with local recreational water managers, Vermont State Parks, local parks and recreation departments, town health officers, and other concerned parties on beach monitoring for both E. coli and cyanotoxins. View Task Comments 5.5.7 Vermont Inactive
Continue to work with towns in the Champlain Valley to educate their residents and lakeshore property owners about the occurrence of cyanobacteria and cyanotoxins. Issue an annual reminder about the presence, identification, and avoidance of cyanobacteria before the summer recreational season. View Task Comments 5.5.8 Vermont Inactive

Expand 5.6) Determine sources of and reduce the threat of pathogens to public health in Lake Champlain Basin waters; communicate risk to the public through advisories from the three jurisdictions.

Associated Tasks ID # Lead Partners Updated Status
Provide a workshop to explore applications or operational use of a DNA/microbial source tracking library for E. coli by 2012. View Task Comments 5.6.1 LCBP Inactive
Encourage common pathogen monitoring protocols among jurisdictions within the Basin by 2015. View Task Comments 5.6.2 LCBP Inactive
Revise ambient water-quality criteria for pathogens pending the EPA’s national reassessment of pathogen criteria, expected in October 2012. View Task Comments 5.6.3 New York Inactive
Assess sewer pump-out capabilities at all Lake Champlain marinas and provide education and technical support on opportunities available to construct new or upgrade existing pump-out facilities through the Clean Vessel Assistance Program by 2012. View Task Comments 5.6.4 New York Inactive
Make WQIP grants available to municipalities to extend sewers into previously unsewered areas and to create new sewer districts to help reduce and eliminate on-site systems in marginal and poor soils by 2015. View Task Comments 5.6.5 New York Inactive
VTANR will pursue revisions to the E. coli water-quality standard with the Vermont Water Resources Panel by 2011. View Task Comments 5.6.6 Vermont Inactive
VAAFM will continue to support the CREP and the best management practices program to help minimize bacteria and pathogens in agricultural runoff. View Task Comments 5.6.7 Vermont 02-06-13 Active
VAAFM will continue to enforce manure setback requirements under the AAPs, MFO, and LFO rules to minimize bacteria and pathogens in runoff. View Task Comments 5.6.8 Vermont 02-06-13 Active
VAAFM will continue to enforce livestock exclusion from production areas on medium and large farms in Vermont to minimize the spread of pathogens. View Task Comments 5.6.9 Vermont Inactive

Expand 5.7) Opportunities for Future Actions: Identify research and monitoring projects that can improve management programs and conduct when funding resources become available.

Associated Tasks ID # Lead Partners Updated Status
Periodically measure toxic substances in Lake Champlain waters, including contaminants of concern and new-generation chemicals in the water column and lake bottom sediments. View Task Comments 5.7.1 Inactive
EPA staff will review the Mercury Reduction Plans for New York and Vermont to assess TMDL implementation progress. View Task Comments 5.7.2 Inactive

Site Last Updated: April 24, 2014

© 2008–2014 Lake Champlain Basin Program. All rights reserved.
Lake Champlain Basin Program - 54 West Shore Road - Grand Isle, VT 05458
800.468.5227 (NY & VT) or 802.372.3213 - WWW.LCBP.ORG