Clean Water

The diverse ecosystems, working
landscapes, and vibrant communities
that inspire and sustain us depend on
clean water. Learn about pollution
reduction strategies.

Healthy Habitats
Connect Us All

Lakeshores, stream banks, and wetlands are critical to clean
water and biodiversity. Learn about efforts to improve
habitat connectivity in the Basin ecosystem.

We Care for
What We Know

Recreation fosters stewardship of the Basin’s rich
natural and cultural heritage by connecting people
to the landscape while supporting local economies.
Learn about ways to explore the Basin.

Informed Citizens
Make Wiser Choices

Citizens who have an understanding and
appreciation of water resources make informed
choices about actions that might contribute to
pollution. Learn about education programs.

    Water & Environment

    Did You Know?

    The deepest spot in Lake Champlain is 400 ft. (122 meters) deep, located in the area between Charlotte, Vermont and Essex, New York. The average lake depth is 64 ft. (19.5 meters).
    Find out more

    Mercury Pollution

    Mercury (Hg) is a naturally occurring element that is toxic to humans and other living things. Mercury can enter water from polluted runoff and from precipitation containing mercury (atmospheric deposition). Humans can be exposure to mercury by eating contaminated fish, absorbing it through the skin, or inhaling it from the atmosphere. Mercury has been identified as one of the toxic substances of concern in the Opportunities for Action, the management plan for Lake Champlain.

    Mercury Pollution Prevention

    Efforts to reduce mercury pollution are on-going at the national, state/provincial, and regional levels.  Both the U.S. and Canadian governments have regulations in place to reduce mercury emissions from factories and other sources that emit mercury into the air. State and provincial governments also implement effective programs to reduce local mercury pollution, by way of thermometer collection programs and more. At the regional level, partners are making similar efforts in the Lake Champlain Basin to prevent mercury from contaminating our lakes and rivers and to protect human health. Recent and on-going activities include:

    • The State of Vermont has initiated a mercury reduction campaign which includes a mercury labeling law, urging pharmacies to voluntarily stop selling mercury thermometers and helping schools remove and reduce mercury hazards.
    • The states of New York and Vermont and the province of Québec have issued fish advisories to warn anglers about the dangers of eating mercury-contaminated fish.
    • Farmers and maple sugarmakers continue to exchange mercury manometers and thermometers for digital devices or alcohol-based thermometers through programs by the VT Agency of Agriculture, Farms and Markets and UVM Extension that were funded in part by the LCBP.
    • The National Wildlife Federation initiated an LCBP-funded program with dentists in the Basin to properly dispose of mercury. The State of Vermont now has guidelines for dental offices.
    • Canadian Federal Mercury Reduction information:
    • U.S. Federal Mercury Reduction information:

    Household Products Potentially Containing Mercury

    • Batteries
      What: Mercuric oxide and pre-1996 alkaline batteries
      Alternatives: Look for labeling that says mercury reduced or eliminated. Avoid mercury zinc button batteries
    • Fluorescent light bulbs
      What: Compact and tubes
      Alternatives: Buy low-mercury fluorescent light bulbs or Light-Emitting Diodes (LEDs)
    • Gauges
      What: Including barometers, manometers, blood pressure, and vacuum gauges with a silver-colored liquid
      Alternatives: Alternatives include digital and needle or bourdon gauges
    • Mercury vapor lights
      What: High intensity discharge (HID), metal halide, and high pressure sodium and neon bulbs
      Alternatives: Alternatives are not available, use low-mercury brands if available
    • Paint
      What: Pre-1990 latex and some oil-based paint (check the label)
      Alternatives: Buy new latex paints and avoid oil-based paints containing mercury
    • Thimerosal and Merbromim
      What: In some antibacterial products such as mercurochrome
      Alternatives: Read labels on medicines, ointments and creams
    • Pilot light sensors
      What: Some gas appliances such as stoves, ovens, clothes dryers, water heaters, furnaces, and space heaters
      Alternatives: Newer models have electronic sensors
    • Switches and relays
      What: Some freezer chests and clothes irons, pre-1972 washers, sump and bilge pumps, electric space heaters, silent light switches, farm equipment and vehicles
      Alternatives: Ball-type switches becoming more available in car hoods and trunks
    • Thermometers
      What: Containing a silver-colored liquid
      Alternatives: Use red-bulb (alcohol) or electronic digital thermometers instead
    • Thermostats
      What: Non-electric
      Alternatives: Switch to electronic models and snap switches, especially when remodeling
    • Vintage Toys
      What: Toy drawing screens and mercury maze games
      Alternatives: Electronic devices and other liquids are used in newer toys

    (Adapted from a brochure produced by the Chittenden Solid Waste District.)

    Disposal of Mercury and Other Hazardous Wastes

    Products containing mercury and other hazardous waste products should always be taken to hazardous waste drop off centers or recycling centers where accepted. They should not be disposed of in household trash. Recycling centers and hazardous waste centers are typically listed in the “community pages” of phonebooks.

    For more information about where to dispose of mercury-containing products or devices, visit online resources available from New York, Vermont, and Québec:

    More about Mercury

    What is the State of the Lake?

    What is the
    State of the Lake?

    Learn about the health of Lake Champlain in the 2018 State of the Lake report. Read about trends in key indicators of water quality and ecosystem health. Read the State of the Lake report


    Make Some Waves

    From using lake-friendly cleaning products to volunteering with a local watershed group, you can help restore and protect the Lake Champlain Basin. Find out how you can get involved

    Track Our Progress

    Track Our Progress

    Explore the goals and actions of our partners and track our progress online with the Opportunities for Action website. View Opportunities for Action

    © 2020 Lake Champlain Basin Program
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    LCBP is a program partner of
    Lake Champlain Basin Program

    Lake Champlain Basin Program
    54 West Shore Road
    Grand Isle, VT 05458
    800-468-5227 (NY & VT)
    or 802-372-3213