Go BLUE! Free Stormwater Consultation for Burlington Residents

By Ryan Buckley, Stormwater Mitigation Consultant (Email the author)
June 30, 2022

This year, Lake Champlain Sea Grant has partnered with a team from the City of Burlington, Fitzgerald Environmental, Just Water Consulting, and the University of Vermont to implement the BLUE Program. Burlington residents who are interested in learning about actions to improve water quality and reducing their stormwater footprint are eligible for free property assessments.

Stormwater is an issue as it carries various contaminants that can degrade the water quality of our streams and lakes and lead to harmful cyanobacteria blooms in the summer months. Pathogens from animal waste; phosphorus, a nutrient from fertilizer and eroded soils; and motor oil from our cars are just a few pollutants that can be washed away by stormwater. BLUE consultants work with residents to identify these sources of pollution found on their properties and make recommendations to reduce impacts on local waterways.

“We are very excited for the opportunity to connect with Burlington residents and encourage folks to understand where stormwater flows from residential areas and how to reduce the impacts,” says Jill Sarazen, Green Infrastructure Collaborative Coordinator with Lake Champlain Sea Grant, who is part of BLUE. “Clean water is something we all want to enjoy, and this program is one action you can take to protect our waterways!”

BLUE’s stormwater goals are simple: slow down runoff, remove contaminants, and infiltrate stormwater into the ground, where possible. Common solutions to mitigate impacts of stormwater runoff include redirecting gutter outlets into a vegetated area, planting a rain garden to treat driveway runoff, installing a permeable driveway that helps rainwater drain into the ground, or installing water bars across a driveway to collect runoff.

How does BLUE work?

The consultation process starts with a home visit by a BLUE consultant who conducts an external evaluation of your property. The consultant will assess soil erosion, water drainage, water infiltration, and other characteristics. They will explain what is happening with stormwater drainage and runoff from your property as part of the larger watershed. A BLUE consultant will also explain how infrastructure, habits, and land management and use, such as accumulation of animal waste or motor oil or use of fertilizer and pesticides, can impact what pollutants and nutrients drain to the lake.

Once the evaluation is complete, BLUE will provide a written report outlining recommendations for your property. You can choose which changes you want to make that best achieve your goals and budget. From there, you can apply for rebates that will be distributed to you once the work is complete.

For residents interested in implementing stormwater treatment practices, the City of Burlington is offering rebates of up to $800 per property for eligible installations. See how you can make changes on your property by signing up for your free BLUE assessment today!

Learn more!

Burlington residents can visit the BLUE BTV website to schedule an evaluation, find answers to Frequently Asked Questions about stormwater, and access useful resources to help improve water quality in Lake Champlain! For further questions, contact BLUE at blue [at] uvm.edu.

BLUE Certification

Are you interested in becoming a leader in the community? Are you willing to implement changes on your property that you can tell your neighbors about? Properties that commit to using watershed-friendly practices can become BLUE certified through our program. Eligibility for certification is evaluated based on landscape practices, managing sources of pollution like fertilizer and pet waste, and reducing volumes of stormwater leaving your property. Contact BLUE at blue [at] uvm.edu with questions about becoming BLUE certified.