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Water Resources

About Integrated Planning

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.