Vermont City Voters Reject Chloramine Use
Sixty-seven percent vote against adding chemical to water system
Town meeting voters in Rutland City, Vt., voted to oppose the use of chloramine as a secondary disinfectant in the city’s water supply.
“The message is very clear—Rutland City residents do not want more chemicals added to their water,” said Nick Santoro, stone sculptor and member of the group Rutland Citizens for Clean and Safe Water.
The vote came on a non-binding ballot article, which stated, “Do Rutland voters approve the use of chloramine as a secondary disinfectant in the water supply?” 2,406 voted against the article, while 1,150 supported it. The high percentage of “no” votes held in all four city wards.
Chloramine is used by some public water systems as a secondary disinfectant. Ammonia is added to water treated with chlorine to create chloramine before it is sent into the distribution system. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and state officials have been pressuring Vermont water systems to use chloramine as a cheap way to comply with new EPA regulations on disinfection byproducts.
Vermont advocates also responded to the vote. “This vote is a testament to Vermont’s democratic system and Rutland’s community spirit,” said Annette Smith, Executive Director of Vermonters for a Clean Environment, who supported the citizen-based campaign on the ballot article. “Community members came together and spoke to their neighbors, and found a way to send a message to the city. This is the first time any community in the country has voted to oppose the use of chloramine.”