By Tracy Brannstrom and Lisa Loomis

A portion of $3.35 million in state funding that Moretown was awarded to assess the feasibility of a municipal wastewater system in 2022 may be clawed back by the state and re-allocated to towns whose infrastructure projects are further along in the planning and engineering process.




Clark Amadon, who has been heading development of the village wastewater plan through the town’s Clean Water Committee, provided an update on the funding to the select board at its April 1 meeting. He said that the committee was informed by Emily Hackett, an environmental engineer for the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, at the committee’s March 28 meeting.

She said that Vermont and other states are required to return any unused ARPA
(American Rescue Plan Act) funds to the U.S. Treasury by September 30, 2026. The state plans to send reallocation letters by September 1.

Soon, select board chair Tom Martin will get a Reallocation Letter from the Department of Environmental Conservation with 30 days to respond with a proposal for the town to keep some of that original funding. Amadon said the town could ask for about $500,000 to pay for land acquisition, system design work – which is a significant part of the project -- and permits.

“Hypothetically, some of this money from Moretown could end up in Waitsfield to supplement the work they’re doing,” Amadon said. Waitsfield is currently working on a $15 million municipal wastewater project. Waitsfield’s feasibility study is complete and planning and final design for the project is at the 30% level. Waitsfield will vote in June on a bond for the system and expects to be able to fund all of it with state and federal grants as well as a long-term, low-interest loan to be paid for by system users. Part of Waitsfield’s funding stack includes being eligible for ARPA funds that are being clawed back.

“We were not terribly happy with the news,” Amadon said. “It doesn’t appear that the town of Moretown has a lot of recourse with that.”

Moretown’s Clean Water Committee will update residents on its wastewater work on April 16 at 7 p.m. at Moretown Elementary School. The committee has been working with Otter Creek Engineering and the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation to locate sites where a system could be installed, and on different design options for such a system. The presentation will also include an update on the status of the $3.55 million funding that is or was available to the town for the project.

Amadon said the committee is waiting for its engineers from Otter Creek Engineering to complete the 60% feasibility report and said that current thinking is that some 40-plus properties in the designated service area may want to sign up for a municipal system. Those properties will need a system that has the capacity for mid-20,000s in terms of gallons per day he said.

One issue for Moretown has been the inability to locate available and workable disposable sites where the system could be installed. The committee continues looking for the right site for a system. Amadon said there are test pits in three different locations in the town.

“We’ve dismissed a couple of locations because the soils weren’t right or the sites were too steep,” he said.

“We have a few other sites we’re considering and will be doing test pits later on this spring,” he added.




It’s too early to speculate on potential costs of a town wastewater system, he said. This preliminary engineering work (up to $92,000) is covered by a no-interest loan.

Once the 60% feasibility report is done, the select board will decide how to move forward in terms of system and design and the engineers will move it forward.

Amadon said that the process of testing sites took far longer than anticipated because state archeologists took longer than anticipated to get to Moretown.

“We had anticipated being able to take the project to voters in 2025,” he said, noting that ARPA funds must be committed by September 2026.

Members of the Clean Water Committee include Amadon, Jack Byrne, Deborah Carroll, Dave Westerman, and Rae Washburn. More information is available at the Moretown Town website under “Clean Water Committee."