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Human waste dumped beside popular trail, Winooski River in Bolton – Brospar Daily News

Editor’s note: This report by Lisa Scagliotti was published on September 3 at the Waterbury Roundabout.

Bolton town officials and Green Mountain Club staff are asking for the public’s help for a worrying and unhealthy condition on Duxbury Road and a popular footpath by the Winooski River.

Earlier this spring, before Green Up Day, a Green Mountain Club Long Trail volunteer was looking to start clearing the trail when he came across a dump near the suspension footbridge that spans the Winooski River in Bolton.

Volunteers found dozens of large black trash bags under the railings along the river road and along the path that ran alongside the river. Inside are human waste and toilet paper.

I got more help and cleaned up the site.

“We thank the Green Mountain Club for mobilizing 10 volunteers who spent hours cleaning up over 400 pounds of feces and toilet paper. In their words: ‘disgusting’,” Bolton Township Clerk Amy Grover recently wrote on social media.

Grover said Bolton’s selection committee, city health officials and the conservation committee were all aware of the situation and a number of conversations ensued. Since then, “No Dumping” signs have been erected.

But the problem persisted this summer. “We all wish the dumping had stopped. It’s not,” Grover said. “Black bin bags filled with human excrement and large amounts of toilet paper continued to be dumped in the same area on Duxbury Road. Some of the bags were swept away by animals, ripped open and their contents sprayed onto people’s property.

Grover explained that city officials share information with the public through social media.

This is both an environmental concern and for health and safety reasons. City officials and rangers were left frustrated after multiple cleanups, only to find more litter later.

Keegan Tierney is director of field programs for the Green Mountain Club. So far, volunteers have carried out at least three cleanups at the site near the popular footbridge, he said. “It’s right on the road and the trail,” he said.

Tierney said the club has a variety of restrooms along the long trail, so they have protective gear for waste disposal. He said the bags were re-bagged and thrown away with the regular trash.

Volunteers cleaned bags full of human waste and repackaged them for disposal. Photo of the Green Mountain Club

Grover and Tierney pointed out that neither city officials nor trail stewards sought to prosecute the culprit. They think it stems from a situation where someone might need help.

“We didn’t know how to contact or how to stop people from littering,” Grover said. “We suspect it may be someone with a faulty or malfunctioning septic tank.”

Everyone involved wants to stop the dumping and they want to see the people who do it get help in the situations that lead to collection and dumping.

“It’s bad. But someone might not want to come to town,” Grover said, but added that the city might be willing to help solve the problem. “For example, I’m sure the city will find money to lease a port,” she said.

“There are resources to help with septic systems,” Tierney said. “At the end of the day, that’s what we want to see, not prosecutions.”

City and trail officials ask anyone with information to contact the City of Bolton office at 802-434-5075. Plus, dial 211 to connect to a statewide hotline that provides information about a variety of human service resources, including programs that can help with sepsis.

“Please, if you see something or know something, say something,” Grover said.

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