Homes/Businesses

The little things we do each day can collectively have a huge impact on improving the quality of our water. Below you'll find resources to take action in your home or business, including the Rethink Runoff Blue Certification Program, Lake Friendly Cleaning, and Stormwater Management.

Select a Category below to learn more.

Managing Water on Your Property 

Water runoff from storms can cause erosion problems on your property, puddles, increases the need for deicing chemicals, and carries gravel, sediment and other pollutants from the street into your watershed. ​​There are some practices and technologies you can implement at home that will not only increase the value of your property, but also improve water quality.  

BLUE® Certification Program


BLUE® Certification Program Are you concerned about the safety of your local beach, water species dying from pollution, or the depreciation of property values associated with polluted communities? BLUE® is an innovative and simple solution that certifies properties as watershed friendly. BLUE® helps reduce the occurrence of dangerous and costly water pollution. How do I become BLUE®? Just call or email to schedule a free evaluation that will let you know exactly what you can do to become BLUE® and do your part to keep our waterways clean! Is BLUE® free for everyone? BLUE® is currently FREE for residents of Colchester, Winooski, Milton, Essex Junction, and Shelburne, Vermont. You can even be eligible for up to $250 for property improvements that reduce water pollution. That's a free rain garden, rain barrel, downspout redirect, gutters, low-flow fixtures, and more! If you live in Burlington BLUE® is partnering with the City of Burlington and Sea Grant to offer BLUE BTV - a stormwater mitigation program specific to the needs of Burlington residents. Click here to schedule your free BLUE® evaluation!




Environment-Friendly Cleaning


The Lake Champlain Basin Program (LCBP) The Lake Champlain Basin Program (LCBP) provides recipes for household cleaners that are more environmentally sound than those that are toxic not only to our environment, but our pets and ourselves. For example, instead of using harsh chemicals to clean your drain, you could pour 1 cup of salt and 1 cup of baking soda followed by a kettle of hot water down the drain. Use a plunger or a metal snake. For more recipes visit the LCBP website.




Stormwater Friendly Driveways


City of Burlington Stormwater Friendly Driveways Traditional paved surfaces like driveways and parking lots allow pollutants such as oil, deicing salts, fertilizers, and gasoline to run into the street, into a sewer and get carried into the nearest waterway. Stormwater friendly driveways and parking lots employ porous pavement that allows water to soak away into the ground below, where it is naturally filtered by soil. This has the potential to recharge groundwater, keep pollutants out of waterways, and reduce flooding risks. These driveways help conscientious homeowners reduce their individual contributions to the City's stormwater challenges.




Rethink Runoff


Rethink Runoff helps communities consider the impact of stormwater runoff in Chittenden County. Excess water from rain or snowmelt flows over surfaces like driveways, sidewalks, and streets picks up pollutants such as oil and grease, chemicals, nutrients, metals and bacteria, flowing into stormwater systems or directly to the lake, streams, rivers or wetlands.

  • The Stream Team - the Stream Team engages citizens across an eight-town area (Burlington, Essex, Essex Junction, Milton, Shelburne, South Burlington, Williston & Winooski) to implement projects to reduce non-point source pollution and stormwater volume at the local level.
  • Tips for Rural Homeowners - Pollution from rural households like pesticides, fertilizers, septic system overflows, soil, and animal manure from make their way into the Chittenden County storm drain system and DO NOT GET TREATED before reaching Lake Champlain.These wastes make our waters unhealthy and unsafe for people and wildlife. Follow these practices to help prevent stormwater pollution.




Lake Wise


Lake Wise

Do you live on one of Vermont's beautiful lakes and ponds? The Lake Wise Program is an Agency of Natural Resources initiative that awards lake-friendly shoreland property, including that of state parks, town beaches, private homes and businesses. The goal of Lake Wise is to establish a new culture of lakeshore landscaping that will help protect the lake. Properties that earn the Lake Wise Award will represent a "model" shoreland property. The Lake Wise Award certifies a property is well managed, using shoreland Best Management Practices, and is maintained to care for the lake.

​If you are a lakeshore owner and think you are or would like to become Lake Wise eligible, then just contact the Lake Wise Program.

​Technical Assistance:




Guide to Stormwater Management


Vermont Guide to Stormwater Management for Households & Small Businesses

The purpose of this guide is to help homeowners and small business owners who are not subject to stormwater permits and regulations identify ways to improve and protect water quality and manage stormwater runoff at its source. The practices described in the guide infiltrate, filter, store, evaporate, and detain runoff onsite, minimizing environmental impact and pollution. You can customize these designs to fit your needs and site-specific constraints.





Get in Touch

Have questions, comments or looking to get involved? We'd love to hear from you! Please email Barry Lampke:

blampke@echovermont.org

ECHO, Leahy Center for Lake Champlain serves as the backbone organization for the Vermont Clean Water Network.

Creation of this site was made possible by a grant from the Insitute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS)

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