By Sean Lawson

I’m writing to urge you to support the Waitsfield Community Wastewater Project and vote “Yes” on June 11 to authorize the $15M bond required for this project to proceed. The proposed project represents an unparalleled opportunity for the town to construct an urgently needed wastewater loop system with no additional cost to taxpayers town-wide, as the project will be funded by $13M in federal funds and grants, with the remaining $2M paid by users of the system at an affordable rate modeled on current practice.





For decades, the critical need for a wastewater management solution in Irasville and Waitsfield Village has remained at the forefront of our community’s priorities. Waitsfield is the largest town in Vermont that lacks municipal wastewater. This has severely limited the expansion of new housing units in the town’s designated growth districts -- the villages of Waitsfield and Irasville. The town has demonstrated success building and operating key infrastructure with the municipal water supply system over the past 11 years, providing clean and safe water in the village districts paid for by the users of the system. During this time, as more users have joined the system, the costs to individual users have decreased.

The compelling needs for the wastewater system include:

  • Expand housing options consistent with Waitsfield’s newly updated zoning bylaws, allowing more people who work in The Valley to live locally.
  • Enable more small businesses to start and grow in our commercial center, enhancing community vitality.
  • Enable owners of failed and/or aging private septic systems a way to cost-effectively replace the need to discharge wastewater near wells and near the Mad River -- protecting both human health and water quality.
  • Construct and operate a modern, efficient wastewater system at no additional cost to Waitsfield taxpayers.




The successful implementation of a wastewater system for Waitsfield will be of great benefit to all Valley communities that rely on Irasville as our commercial hub for shopping, groceries, restaurants, banking, and services. Waitsfield’s 2023 Town Plan and 2024 zoning bylaws encourage infill development in the proposed wastewater service area.

As a Waitsfield business and property owner, I’ve experienced the hurdles presented by the lack of municipal infrastructure. In 2017, when we constructed and then opened our brewery and taproom the following year, the only way to accomplish this project was to build our own advanced wastewater treatment system -- a financial burden too steep to overcome for many small business ventures. While our system serves our needs now and in the foreseeable future, I’m a strong supporter of this community wastewater project that will enable more people and businesses to grow and thrive.

Waitsfield’s Community Wastewater Project is on existing state funding priority lists, and the town is poised to apply for design and construction funding from the State’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund, State ARPA program, USDA Rural Development funds, and Congressionally Directed Spending. The planning and design efforts to date have been funded through state and federal sources. To be eligible for additional grants and loans, the town needs to be able to demonstrate its commitment to the project. Passing a bond will demonstrate that commitment -- without obligating Waitsfield residents to pay for the system through property taxes.

Please vote “Yes” for the wastewater bond on June 11 and encourage your Waitsfield neighbors to do the same.

Lawson lives in Moretown and with his wife Karen Lawson owns Lawson’s Finest Liquids in Waitsfield.