Brandon Source Protection Area
In 1999 the town of Brandon, Vermont began the process of designating the Brandon Source Protection area. The project stemmed from the fear of degrading the town's aquifer, which was the sole supplier of over 3,500 people in the town. With no means of finding another source to supply Brandon with water, the Brandon Fire District #1 Superintendent, Raymond Counter, began working towards the reclassification of Brandon's water supply.
The first step to the designation of the Brandon Source Protection area was to alter the boundary of the original source protection area, which was delineated in 1981, to include the newest well drilled in 1997. In order to accomplish this, Ray partnered with the Vermont Geological Survey to gain funding from the US Geological Survey STATEMAP program to map the wells and groundwater resources of Brandon. The completion of this mapping led to the modification of the source protection area and the decision to petition for class II groundwater reclassification.
This petition succeeded in the reclassification of the Brandon water supply to a class II status, which means that the water in Brandon is not treated with chemicals and does not undergo any type of purification system. This class II status is largely due to Brandon's high aquifer recharge potential. Additionally, this new groundwater designation provides protection and public awareness at a state level.
The Brandon source protection area is located around the wells that Brandon uses for its public water supply and was put in place to protect the water supply from activities that could affect its quality. Every development project within the source protection area must be carefully planned and reviewed in order to make sure that it will comply with the restrictions of the protection area. For example, a gas station would never be approved for development in the Brandon Source Protection Area due to the high risk of water source contamination.
Brandon is the only town in Vermont with class II water classification and the Brandon Fire District #1 has received numerous awards for its efforts to protect Brandon's water supply. Additionally, although Ray Counter has already succeeded in obtaining the current classified wells, he continues to work to protect other areas that could possibly provide a public water supply for Brandon and other towns in the future.
Land Management, water
The Brandon Source Protection Area achieved the protection of Brandon's public water supply. Additionally, the reclassification of the water supply to class II status raised public awareness of the importance of a clean and pure water source. The town of Brandon is currently the only town to have achieved class II status and they hope that this achievement will inspire other towns to work towards achieving the same.
Vermont Geological Survey
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Raymond Counter, Brandon Fire District #1 Superintendent
Brandon Town Personnel
Eric Sorenson, Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department
The success of the Brandon Source Protection Area can be mostly attributed to the hard work and persistence of Raymond Counter. Ray spent countless hours working on obtaining the reclassification of Brandon's water. Additionally, the collaboration of all the partners involved in obtaining the class II designation made the project possible.
The largest challenge faced in the designation of the Brandon Source Protection Area was a lack of time and resources. The source protection area has taken countless hours over many years of hard work and required a lot of funding that was difficult to acquire. Additionally, explaining the value of the protection of the Brandon water supply to the community proved to be a great challenge due to the invisible nature of the result.