Memphremagog Conservation Inc. holds annual general meeting

By Matthew Sylvester, Special to The Record

On Saturday, Memphremagog Conservation Inc. held their annual year-in-review to discuss the progress of the various conservation projects that take place on the lake. After introductions from a couple of the group’s board members, MCI President Robert Benoit announced that despite small setbacks due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization had succeeded in achieving all of the goals it had set out for the year.
On top of the list of priorities was the Coventry landfill. Operated by Casella Waste Systems, the Coventry landfill site is the only waste treatment facility in the entire State of Vermont. It’s located right next to the Black river, the main source of inflowing water to the Memphremagog.
Since 2013, the landfill has been accepting 600,000 tonnes of garbage annually. An expansion to the site that was approved by the state of Vermont back in 2017 would increase that number to over a million.
This poses a huge threat to the ecosystem and water resources of the lake. When rainwater falls on the landfill, it picks up different substances from the waste that can be harmful to the lake. While much of this leachate is treated at the nearby Newport water treatment facility, the plant isn’t equipped to treat leachate containing high levels of several contaminants.
Disposal through the Newport treatment plant was dispersing hundreds of chemicals, many known to have adverse effects on human health, into Lake Memphremagog. A representative for the organization wrote that they “Believe that the precautionary principle must be applied due to the ecological, recreational and tourism importance of Lake Memphremagog and the fact that the Lake is a drinking water reservoir for more than 175,000 residents of the Eastern Townships.”

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