VAAFM Files Final Proposed Subsurface Tile Drainage Water Quality Rule

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VAAFM Files Final Proposed Subsurface Tile Drainage Water Quality Rule

Final Step in Public Rulemaking Process Ongoing Since February, 2018

August 31, 2018 / Montpelier, VT - On Tuesday, August 21, 2018, the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets (VAAFM) filed the final proposed rule amendment to the Required Agricultural Practices (RAPs) with the Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules (LCAR) and the Secretary of State (SOS).  The amendment includes requirements for reducing nutrient contribution to waters of the State from subsurface tile drainage on agricultural fields. 

The formal rule amendment process began in January of this year with recommended changes provided by the Interagency Committee on Administrative Rules (ICAR) during the process.  VAAFM made several amendments and formally filed the proposed rule on February 28, 2018.  In farming, a tile drain system removes excess water from agricultural soils below the surface, usually through a system of plastic piping.  For more information on agricultural subsurface tile drainage, please see the Vermont Subsurface Agricultural Tile Drain Report prepared by VAAFM and the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources: http://agriculture.vermont.gov/sites/ag/files/pdf/water_quality/Research/TD-Report/Vermont-Subsurface-Agricultural-Tile-Drain-Report-01312017.pdf

Prior to initiating the formal rule amendment process, the Agency was engaged in various discussions and nine meetings to gather feedback pertaining to the content of the amendment, involving 190 attendees that provided insight as the rule amendment process began. Following the filing of the proposed rule , the Agency held a public comment period which ran from February 28, 2018 through April 20, 2018. During this time frame, the Agency held three public hearings in St. Albans, Montpelier, and Middlebury to gather additional feedback on the final proposed rule, in which 33 interested individuals attended. Overall, the Agency received over 50 written and emailed comments on the proposed rule amendment.

The proposed rule amendment, an updated RAP Rule Draft, the responsiveness summary to public comments received, and other pertinent information can be found at: http://agriculture.vermont.gov/rap-tile-rule

Please direct any questions regarding the proposed amendment or the RAPs to agr.waterquality@vermont.gov or call (802) 272-0323

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Contact:

Ryan Patch

Water Quality Division Deputy Director

Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets

(802) 272-0323

ryan.patch@vermont.gov