A failing culvert and a need to ditch a road in Ski Valley Acres is shunting water across one of that development’s roads and into the area around Martin von Trapp’s spring in Waitsfield.



Correcting those issues is on the road department’s to-do list, but not at the top according to town health officer and select board member Fred Messer who brought the issue to the board at its last meeting on June 28. Messer explained that he had received and investigated a complaint from von Trapp concerning possible contamination of his spring that supplies drinking water for his family and farm. There’s a town road within 25 feet of his spring and a culvert and ditching that need attention.

“The road crew is tied up on North Fayston Road getting ready for pavement there. They aren’t going to be free to go take care of that problem in Ski Valley Acres right away. We’re just waiting for them to free up some time to do this. They’ve got a list of ditches that need to be cleaned out and fixed up and I’m making sure this project is on the list,” Messer said.

Messer explained that the von Trapp spring is located within Ski Valley Acres.


“The spring was developed and right-of-way’s established in the early 1800s. Ski Valley Acres was developed with its road network circa 1960s. In later years, the town of Waitsfield accepted responsibility for the road network from the developer,’’ he told the board.

When it rains, stormwater flows from a silted-in ditch on the upper side of the road to the lower side of the road and directly to the von Trapp spring. Over the course of many years, the silt is now built up to the top of the spring tile allowing groundwater to flow into the spring, he said.

Additionally there is a road culvert within 25 feet of the spring which adds to the silting and groundwater problem, Messer explained.


He noted that the farm has a well for a secondary water supply but the spring water is more desireable for the farm’s milk and cheese products.

“I conducted my onsite investigation on Sunday, June 27, 2021, the morning after a heavy rainstorm. I could see first-hand that stormwater had overtopped the drainage ditch, flowed down the town road, off the road directly to the area of the von Trapp spring. I observed the silting in and around the von Trapp spring and that groundwater could easily flow into the spring tile,” Messer wrote in formal findings for the board.


The remedy proposed by Messer is that the town repair and maintain the town road in this area adjacent to the von Trapp spring in a manner that doesn’t let water run into his spring area and that as a long-term solution the town moves the road culvert approximately 100 feet down the road from its present position and ditch accordingly.