Waitsfield voters will head to the polls next week on June 11 to cast ballots on a $15 million wastewater project, $13.3 million of which is expected to be funded by state and federal grants and $1.7 million of which will be through a long-term low-interest loan that will be paid for by users of the system.





The proposed system will serve Irasville and Waitsfield village areas and will include a sewer main running from the north end of Waitsfield Elementary School, south along Route 100 to the Munn Field, at the intersection of Kingsbury Road and Route 100 where a tertiary treatment plan will process 89,000 gallons of effluent per day via a SBR (Sequencing Batch Reactor) plan, similar to what Sugarbush has used for over two decades.

This week, at a June 3 information meeting about the project, project manager Annie Decker-Dell’Isola and select board member Chach Curtis provided parameters of the project and included some history about the town’s previous attempt to create a municipal wastewater system.


Decker-Dell’Isola explained how 70-some systems in the service area had been identified as priority parcels that would be connected to the system free of charge, noting many of the systems in the service area are well past their lifespan and are in danger of polluting the Mad River, ground water and nearby wells. Replacing those village systems, due to the proximity of the river and well shields can cost up to $60,000 she said.

The priority systems will require some 65,000 gallons per day of the capacity at the Munn field and that will leave about 24,000 gallons a day in additional capacity that is enough capacity for about 70 new one- and two-bedroom housing units as well as an eight to 10 percent increase in commercial wastewater use in the service area.





Currently the project’s 30% final engineering phase is underway and this phase, like all previous work on the system, has been covered in state grants and forgivable loans. The projected funding stack for the $15 million project includes $3 million in Congressional Discretionary Spending, $6 million from the state’s Village Wastewater APRA/pollution control grant, $3.9 million in a USDA Rural Development grant and a $1.7 million USDA low-interest, long-term loan.

“Those are all our identified funding sources. We’ve applied for them. If they are not received, the project will not go forward,” Curtis said.

“We’re expecting to fund this exactly the way we funded the water system and we’re not asking town voters to incur this debt,” he added, noting that Waitsfield was in a primary position to receive the funding because of requirements that state ARPA funds be allocated by 2024 and spent by 2026 and Waitsfield’s proposed project is much further along than many others and, hence, is more likely to receive the funding.

Waitsfield attempted to create a municipal wastewater system in 2008 but the bond vote failed. Since then, Curtis explained, the town has constructed a financially sound municipal water system (paid for by users) and managed to re-purpose much of the 2008 costs and engineering work from that effort.




The original 2008 debt was $672,770 which is being paid back through 2027 at zero percent interest. But during that 2008 water and wastewater effort, the town received $1 million in EPA STAG funding which the town was able to keep by leveraging it into several wastewater and water quality projects including:

    • Creating the Community Wastewater Loan Fund Program (CWLFP) which provided funding for decentralized wastewater loan program benefiting 20 town businesses, including major economic drivers of the town.
    • The Bridge Street stormwater project.
    • Affordable loan rates for the town office septic system (a direct impact to taxpayers).

“Through the CWLFP, property owners within the eligible service area were able to borrow up to 100% of the cost of the final engineering design and construction of a wastewater system from the town at below-market interest rates, consistent with state revolving fund monies. The town also provided a subsidy of up to 15% to encourage the improvement of existing wastewater systems,” he explained.

Additionally, that community loan fund program resulted in no debt for taxpayers with users repaying those funds. Finally, Dubois and King, engineers for this 2024 project were able to reuse previous work on the Munn site for the 2023 preliminary engineering report, saving approximately $300,000 and reducing project time and costs.