Water Resources

Integrated Water Quality Plan (IP)

Welcome to our Integrated Planning Page!

Burlington's Water Resources Division has been working on the development of an Integrated Water Quality Plan since 2014. When it is completed, the Integrated Plan will serve as the road map for addressing the City's water quality challenges.  This effort represents years of planning, modeling, engineering, and financial assessments, to help Burlington not only achieve their water regulatory goals, but to do so in the most cost-effective, and efficient way.  Most importantly, the final Integrated Plan will directly incorporate feedback from our community about what strategies are most important to them.

September 2020 Community Events

Sign up here to be notified of IP events!

How to get involved

About IP

What is IP?

Why is Burlington pursuing IP?

When did Burlington start this process?

How has the plan progressed so far?

How does this fit in with the other work you're doing?


About Integrated Planning

What is Integrated Planning (IP)?

In 2012, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published the Integrated Municipal Stormwater and Wastewater Planning Approach Framework.  In essence, IP is a tool that allows communities with numerous water quality obligations to:

  1.   1.  Examine all of these obligations as a whole,
  2.   2.  Identify the community's relative priorities for addressing human health and water quality improvements ( including what tools to use!), and 
  3.   3.  Address these priorities by sequencing and scheduling work based on implementing the projects with the highest cost-benefit and community support first.

Why is Burlington pursuing Integrated Planning?

The City of Burlington faces a number of water quality regulations, such as:

  • Compliance with the Lake Champlain TMDL and its associated wastewater and stormwater upgrade requirements,
  • Implementation of Stormwater Flow TMDLs (Centennial Brook, Englesby Brook, Potash Brook),
  • Compliance with the Bacteria TMDL in Englesby Brook and
  • Addressing Combined Sewer Overflows, as well as combined sewer back-ups into basements and street flooding.  

In addition to these various regulatory requirements, the City also has miles and miles of aging wastewater and stormwater infrastructure which is reaching the end of its functional life.   It can be challenging to balance all of these needs in a way that meets regulatory timelines, adequately addresses aging infrastructure, and takes into account the very real affordability challenges facing communities like Burlington.  Integrated planning allows us not only to look at these issues holistically - it also gives our community an opportunity to tell us their priorities.  

    When did Burlington start this process?

    In 2014, the City of Burlington submitted a proposal to the EPA for a technical assistance grant to assess how integrated planning could work for Burlington.  The City's proposal was one of 5 selected for funding from communities across the U.S.  The EPA provided us with $67,000 worth of an EPA contractor’s (Tetra Tech) services to support our proposed scope of work.  The results of the initial 2014 study can be found by clicking the tile below.  Upon completion of this project and the associated community engagement processes in 2014 and 2015, with support from Vermont DEC, Burlington determined that pursuing an Integrated Water Quality Plan was in the best interest of the City and its ratepayers.  With the assistance of a dedicated consulting team, Burlington began the formal process of developing an Integrated Water Quality Plan in early 2017.

    How has the IP progressed so far?

    The project team has made substantial progress since we commenced this effort in 2017.  Work completed to date includes:

    • Comprehensive data compilation of all planning efforts and project implementation databases across the City, which could either impact coordinated efforts, or have water quality benefits that should be credited to BTV's pollution reduction goals
    • Development of a city-wide map of all stormwater, and wet-weather implementation opportunities (link coming soon!)
    • Initial technical evaluation of our current phosphorous removal potential, as well as any additional optimization opportunities for our three wastewater treatment facilities
    • Creation of a 'scenario tool' to support evaluation of feasibility and cost-effectiveness of non-structural programs (i,e, street sweeping, leaf pickup, etc.)
    • Evaluation and enhancement of the City's Hydraulic/Hydrologic Model, which allows us to model the sufficiency of our collection system, for detailed scenario planning

    How does this relate to the other projects Water Resources is doing?

    2018 Clean Water Resiliency Plan (CWRP)

    While these various project components were in development, the need for a final, comprehensive Integrated Plan came into sharp focus during the summer of 2018.  That year, we experienced a number of challenges with our combined sewer infrastructure, as well as our wastewater treatment facilities.  In response to those issues, Water Resources received overwhelming voter approval for a $30 million bond, to specifically implement long-planned improvements to modernize our systems.  Water Resources was able to advance this bond request so quickly as a direct result of the integrated planning efforts that had already been completed at that time.  While much of the work associated with the CWRP relates specifically to infrastructure upgrades, this work will absolutely strengthen our ongoing efforts to improve and protect water quality. 

    Green Stormwater Infrastructure Grant

    As an early step under the CWRP, our Stormwater Program applied for and received $1 Million in funding under a Vermont Department of Conservation (DEC) grant opportunity. Utilizing the preliminary data from the Opportunities Map developed by our Integrated Planning Team, our staff completed additional soil and utility analysis and modeling to determine the right projects to propose. This award will fund 12 Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI) projects to protect water quality, keep utility rates affordable and help address the inherited challenge of old infrastructure - specifically, CSOs. Construction of these retrofits will occur over the next two years. These projects will make a meaningful difference in capturing stormwater before it enters our combined system during storm events.

    Drain Defenders


    You can find additional details on these related efforts by clicking the tiles below:

    Get Involved

    Throughout the summer and early fall of 2020, Water Resources staff and members of our consultant team will be hosting a variety of community forums, surveys, and ultimately a public open house where citizens will be able to learn more about the Integrated Plan, and weigh in on the what they believe will be the best combination of projects. 

    The tiles below allow you to sign up for ongoing updates about engagement events, or bring you to specific pages for each event, where we have included an overview of what we will be covering, and information on schedules and how to participate.

    Is there a question we haven't answered here?  Email Us!