RAP Subsurface Tile Drainage Draft Rule

Download The Proposed Rule


Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets - Response to LCAR Memo on RAP Rule Revision for Subsurface Tile Drainage (posted 09/13/2018)


VAAFM Files Final Proposed Subsurface Tile Drainage Water Quality Rule

Final Step in Public Rulemaking Process Ongoing Since February, 2018

August 23, 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: https://go.usa.gov/xUuTT


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.



For more information about the RAPs and the Agency’s efforts to implement Act 64 of 2015, please e-mail: AGR.WaterQuality@vermont.gov or contact the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets at (802) 272-0323.



Enabling Legislation

6 V.S.A. § 4810a (b)
Required Agricultural Practices Revision


On or before January 15, 2018, the Secretary of Agriculture, Food and Markets shall amend by rule the required agricultural practices in order to include requirements for reducing nutrient contribution to waters of the State from subsurface tile drainage. Upon adoption of requirements for subsurface tile drainage, the Secretary may require an existing subsurface tile drain to comply with the requirements of the RAPs for subsurface tile drainage upon a determination that compliance is necessary to reduce adverse impacts to water quality from the subsurface tile drain. (Added 2015, No. 64, § 4; amended 2015, No. 105 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. May 12, 2016.)




Annotated Summary of Proposed RAP Rule Changes (8/21/2018)


Complete Proposed RAP Rule (8/21/2018)


Full RAP Final Proposed Rule Secretary of State and LCAR Filing Set (8/21/2018)


Full RAP Proposed Rule Secretary of State Filing Set (2/21/2018)