The Vermont Statutes Online
Subchapter 006 : GROUNDWATER WITHDRAWAL PROGRAM(Cite as: 10 V.S.A. § 1418)
§ 1418. Groundwater withdrawal permit
(a)(1) On and after July 1, 2010, no person, for commercial or industrial uses, shall make a new or increased groundwater withdrawal of more than 57,600 gallons a day from any well or spring on a single tract of land or at a place of business without first receiving from the Secretary of Natural Resources a groundwater withdrawal permit. The following shall constitute a "new or increased withdrawal":
(A) the expansion of any existing withdrawal through:
(i) additional withdrawal from one or more new wells or springs; or
(ii) an increase in the rate of withdrawal from a well or spring above the maximum rate set forth in any existing permit issued by the Secretary of Natural Resources under this section; or
(B) for previously unpermitted withdrawals, an increase in the rate of withdrawal after July 1, 2010 from a well or spring on a single tract of land or at a place of business of 25 percent of the baseline withdrawal or an increase of 57,600 gallons of groundwater withdrawn, whichever is smaller.
(2) For the purposes of this subsection, the baseline withdrawal shall be the highest amount withdrawn by a person between 2005 and 2010.
(b) The following are exempt from the permitting requirements of this section:
(1) a groundwater withdrawal for fire suppression or other public emergency purpose;
(2) domestic, residential use;
(3) groundwater withdrawal for farming;
(4) dairy processors and milk handlers licensed in accordance with 6 V.S.A. § 2721;
(5) public water systems, as that term is defined in section 1671 of this title; and
(6) closed loop, standing column, or similar non-extractive geothermal heat pumps.
(c) When an application is filed under this section, the Secretary shall proceed in accordance with chapter 170 of this title.
(d) Application for a permit shall be on a form prepared by the Secretary. An application shall, at a minimum, contain the information necessary to make the determinations contained in subsection (e) of this section, and the following:
(1) the purpose for the withdrawal;
(2) the location and source of the withdrawal;
(3) the amount of the proposed withdrawal, including estimates of the projected mean and peak daily, monthly, and annual withdrawals;
(4) the place of the proposed return flow of withdrawn water;
(5) the estimated amount of water that will not be returned to the watershed where the proposed withdrawal is located;
(6) the location, demand on, and yield of existing sources of groundwater and surface water utilized by the applicant; and
(7) a brief description of the alternative means considered for satisfying the applicant's stated use for water.
(e) The Secretary shall not issue a permit for a new or increased groundwater withdrawal unless the Secretary determines:
(1) that the proposed withdrawal is planned in a fashion that provides for efficient use of the water;
(2) that the proposed withdrawal, in combination with other existing withdrawals, will meet the standards set by the Secretary of Natural Resources in rule for establishing a safe yield in the area of the withdrawal;
(3) that the proposed withdrawal is consistent with the town or regional plan in which the proposed withdrawal is located, and with any duly adopted State policy to manage groundwater as a shared resource for the benefit of all citizens of the State, including any policies and programs of the State of Vermont regarding long-range planning, management, allocation, and use of groundwater and surface water in effect at the time the application for the withdrawal is filed;
(4) that the proposed withdrawal will not have an undue adverse effect on existing uses of water dependent on the same water source;
(5) that the proposed withdrawal will not have an undue adverse effect on a public water system permitted by the Agency of Natural Resources;
(6) that the proposed withdrawal will not have an undue adverse effect on significant wetlands under the Vermont wetland rules or on other water resources hydrologically interconnected with the well or spring from which the proposed withdrawal would be made;
(7) that the proposed withdrawal will not violate the Vermont water quality standards; and
(8) any other consideration that the Secretary determines necessary for the conservation of water or protection of groundwater quality.
(f) A permit issued under this section shall be valid for the period of time specified in the permit but not for more than 10 years. A permit issued under this section shall include the following:
(1) that groundwater withdrawals from a well or spring for drinking water supplies, farming, or dairy processing shall be given priority over other uses during times of shortage; and
(2) any other condition that the Secretary determines necessary for the conservation of water or protection of groundwater quality.
(g) The Secretary may require any person withdrawing groundwater in the State to obtain a permit under this section if the withdrawal is not exempt under subsection (b) of this section and the Secretary determines that the withdrawal violates the Vermont water quality standards or has an undue adverse effect on an existing use of groundwater, a public water system permitted by the Agency of Natural Resources, wetlands, or water resources hydrologically interconnected with the well or spring from which the withdrawal occurs. The Secretary shall make a determination under this section based on review of the information set forth under subsection (d) of this section that is readily available to the Secretary.
(h) A withdrawal permit issued under this section may be transferred upon a change of ownership of the facility or project for which the permit was issued, provided that the new owner applies for an administrative amendment to the permit certifying its agreement to comply with all terms and conditions of the transferred permit and assume all other associated obligations.
(i) The following groundwater withdrawals shall be deemed to comply with the public trust requirements of the State for groundwater management and shall be entitled to a presumption that the withdrawal complies with the public trust requirements of the State:
(1) A groundwater withdrawal permitted under this section;
(2) A groundwater withdrawal for domestic, residential use;
(3) A groundwater withdrawal for public water systems, except for a bottled water facility operating under a source permit issued prior to June 9, 2008, permitted under chapter 56 of this title;
(4) A groundwater withdrawal for a potable water supply permitted under chapter 64 of this title;
(5) A groundwater withdrawal for farming conducted in compliance with the requirements of 6 V.S.A. chapter 215; and
(6) A groundwater withdrawal by a dairy processor or milk handler licensed in accordance with 6 V.S.A. § 2721.
(j) On or before July 1, 2010, the Secretary shall adopt rules to implement this section. When rules are adopted by the Secretary under this section, section 1415 of this title shall be repealed. The rules adopted under this section shall include:
(1) requirements for the mitigation of an undue adverse effect on drinking water supplies, farming, public water systems, or any other affected use when the Secretary determines such an undue adverse effect is likely to occur due to a proposed withdrawal;
(2) requirements for the renewal of permits issued under this section.
(k) Nothing contained in this subchapter shall be construed to alter or modify a right under a deed or contract to access groundwater in this State. (Added 2007, No. 199 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. June 9, 2008; amended 2009, No. 154 (Adj. Sess.), § 236; 2015, No. 150 (Adj. Sess.), § 19, eff. Jan. 1, 2018; 2019, No. 14, § 35, eff. April 30, 2019.)