Stormwater Program & Maintenance

The Town of Colchester is rich in natural resources.There are approximately 30 miles of shoreline on Lake Champlain, while the arms of Malletts Bay surround almost 10 square miles of the lake.

The Town's southern border has about 9 miles of frontage on the Winooski River, and the northwestern border has about 3 miles of frontage on the Lamoille River. Inland from the lake lies Colchester Pond, a 186 acre water body.

With 165 mapped wetlands, comprising a total of 3,066 acres, and many unmapped wetlands, Colchester has one of the most diversified and valuable collections of habitats in Vermont. For these reasons and many more, Colchester has made water quality a priority for many years. In keeping with these priorities, the Colchester Public Works Department has focused substantial resources on managing stormwater runoff within the community. 

Regular maintenance of the Town’s stormwater system is an important part of our overall storm water management program. Over time, the stormwater system will collect sediment and debris from storm water flows. If this material is not removed on a regular basis, it eventually will end up in our streams and the Lake. It is also important to regularly inspect the system to ensure that it is in proper working order, and performing the function for which it was intended. Public Works crews perform regular inspections of the system gathering important information such as the overall structural condition, pipe sizes, depths, construction materials, cleanliness, and any other information that would be considered useful for the overall management of the system. These inspections also provide an opportunity to detect possible illegal discharges to the system that may pose a threat to water quality, and that may also be a violation of the Town’s Storm Water Ordinance.

Much of the sediment that finds its way into the storm water system comes from sand that is applied to the Town’s transportation system during winter snow and ice removal operations. To ensure the public’s safety during the winter months, application of this type of material is necessary. However, from storm water perspective, it can be harmful. To prevent these materials from entering into the storm water system, the Public Works Department sweeps the Town’s roadway twice a year, with the first sweeping beginning as early as possible in the spring while most of the sand is still on the roadway. See photos of the street sweeper to the right.

It is also necessary to clean each of the storm water drains to remove any accumulated sediment and debris. Most of these structures were constructed with a sump that provides a space inside the structure for solids to settle into instead of flowing to the discharge point. For many years, all new storm water structures have been required to incorporate this feature.
Street Sweeper (5)
Street Sweeper (3)