Communities in Action

VT: Berlin Pond, an important drinking water source, was under protection from pollution--until last year.:
Residents organize to change that

Picturesque Berlin Pond has been protected as the sole drinking water source for Montpelier for over a century, yet a state supreme court ruling two years ago has put the drinking water for over 20,000 people at risk. The pond has historically been protected from access, especially by boats, for good reason. Boats leak petroleum that can't be detected in the filtration plant. They also spread spread invasive species, which could potentially shut down the water system. That’s why Paul and Melissa Perley were shocked when Vermont’s court ruled that the city of Montpelier didn't have the jurisdiction to restrict access to the public body of water and instead immediately gave jurisdiction to the Agency of Natural Resources, which opened the pond to the public. Together, the Perleys organized neighbors to change the rules governing the pond and once again protect it from
contamination. Their group, Citizens to Protect Berlin Pond, has become a powerful voice on the issue, collecting hundreds of petition signatures, securing the support of many local officials and getting the issue covered frequently in the news.