Public Data

You have the Right to Know about Contaminated Sites

At the core of environmental law is the concept of public data: the basic right of any citizen to have full access to all information related to contaminated sites

This means that whenever a site is found to be contaminated at levels considered hazardous to human health and/or the environment, this information must, under state law, be immediately submitted to Vermont DEC. This information is then placed in a Hazardous Sites database, assigned a Site ID number, and a publicly accessible file opened. A short description of activities at each site is published on-line in a searchable online database.

Once a new brownfield is identified and a Site Number established, a DEC Site Manager is assigned. Reports and correspondence related to the site are kept in a secure file at Vermont DEC Waterbury headquarters, and all the contents of the file become part of the permanent public record. Sites remain on the Vermont DEC database until they are considered not a threat to human health or the environment. Citizens can contact Vermont DEC at 802·241·3888, set up an appointment to review the file(s), and have copies made of any and all documents in each file. Direct contact can also be made with the Site Manager for each site.

The database includes everything from contaminated properties just discovered to relatively “clean” sites that have been undergoing follow-up monitoring for years. While the database is not a precise indicator of the severity of hazards at each site, it is a great resource for the public to learn where known brownfields are located in their community.

In some cases, the Community and Economic Development Office may have copies of recent site assessments. Copies of these are available at no cost.

Public data is also a key component of the City's brownfields strategy, which is based on funding environmental site assessments and working through cleanup and redevelopment issues. It has been demonstrated repeatedly that once reliable and valid site data is created by qualified consultants and placed in the public domain, the interaction between the public, State DEC, developers, and stakeholders is greatly enhanced, since it is based on full disclosure of factual evidence.


For more information, contact:

Gillian Nanton, Assistant Director of CEDO, 802-865-7179, or 
Kirsten Merriman-Shapiro, Project and Policy Specialist, 802-865-7284