DUMP is an all volunteer environmental group of Vermont and Canadian citizens formed in 2018 and dedicated to protecting the waters of Lake Memphremagog and its watershed.
To restore and protect the quality of the international waters and watershed of beautiful Lake Memphremagog, a recreational treasure as well as the drinking water source for over 175,000 Canadian citizens.
- Permanent ban on disposal of landfill leachate at the Newport Wastewater Treatment facility.
- Permanent ban on pretreatment of landfill leachate and discharge of any treated or untreated leachate anywhere within the Memphremagog watershed.
- Officially certified date for complete closure of the Coventry landfill, ensuring sufficient funds for all future custodial care activities.
Action – Taking Steps
October 2018 – Our group of volunteers from Vermont and Canada organize to oppose the expansion of the Coventry Landfill, which was approved by the ANR later that month, and then appealed by DUMP. The permit came with the following conditions:
1) The owner/operator submit a plan for testing sources of PFAS by October 15, 2019.
2) The owner/operator shall complete a conceptual scoping study of leachate treatment options by October 15, 2019.
- January 2019 – DUMP presented testimony at the ACT 250 hearing, again opposing the expansion of the landfill due to the dangers to the environment and human health.
- July 2019 – Act 250 approves the expansion with the following conditions,
1) Landfill leachate could not be disposed of in Lake Memphremagog until a proven method for removing PFAS in waste-water treatment plants was found.
2) The owner/operator of the landfill was required to hire an air & odor monitor.
Our two primary concerns of water & air quality, for which we had discovered violations not enforced by ANR, were addressed.
- November 2019 – At our legal counsel’s recommendation, DUMP entered into mediation (Mediation Settlement) with the owner of the landfill. This negotiation resulted in the following:
1) DUMP would drop the appeal to the ANR for the expansion permit.
2) Landfill leachate would not be disposed of at the Newport wastewater treatment facility until a Vermont surface water standard for safe PFAS levels were established.
3) DUMP would receive copies of all reports and permits filed with the ANR by the landfill operation.
4) The owner/operator of the landfill must engage a 3rd party to do a study of landfill odor management with recommendations for improvement.
January 13, 2020 – DUMP organized a “Summit on Future of Lake Memphremagog” in Newport, inviting mayors and legislators on both sides of the US/Canada border to discuss water quality concerns and data: View Presentation. Tom Berry of Sen. Leahy’s office attended, beginning an ongoing relationship with our Federal delegation. Many questions were raised, and the large contingent of Canadian legislators has asked for a follow-up meeting, perhaps in September 2021.
- February 2, 2020 – Showings and Discussions of “Dark Waters” film about PFAS at Catamount Arts in St. J and at Magog Cinema in Magog, QC. Both were well attended. A public showing at North Country Union HS in Newport was planned but then Covid-19 arrived and our public information campaign was suspended.
- Ongoing Efforts During Covid –
• The DUMP Facebook Group , with over 230 members from the US, Vermont and Canada, regularly shares information, media, and reports on PFAS, Landfill concerns; Reducing, Recycling, Composting and landfill liability issues, locally and internationally. We will continue to share our research and findings, and review the information that is shared with us.
• Provided public comment on ANR/SWM Plan, Plan for PFAS Standards in Surface Water and Landfill Siting Plan.
• Expanded outreach to other environmental organizations in the area and Vermont: Northwoods Stewardship Center, Conservation Law Foundation, Vermont Conservation Voters, VPIRG, Community Action Works, Lake Champlain Basin Program, and Save Forest Lake (NH )
• Participated in “Tell Me More w/Moore” (December 2020) on Brown Bullhead with Lesions, following up on previous interactions with Fish and Wildlife biologists in an effort to learn more about the USGS study published 2019. In the December forum, Moore and F&G biologists confirmed that presence of cancer in 25-40% Brown Bullhead species sampled is evidence of environmental contamination in the waters of Memphremagog.
• Responded in public comment to the report on Landfill Siting requested of ANR by House Natural Resources Committee, followed by DUMP spokesperson Peggy Stevens providing testimony to committee January 2021. where she commented on shortcomings of this report. (2:12:03) Testimony to the House
- March, 2021 – DUMP launches a petition drive to designate Lake Memphremagog a “Lake in Crisis”. Read our petition. The petition garnered over 3900 signatures and raised awareness and concern regarding the impaired health of Lake Memphremagog.
- April, 2021 – DUMP was selected to be a community liaison for the study “Guidance on PFAS Testing and Health Outcomes” being conducted by the National Academy of Science, Engineering and Medicine. The presentation made by DUMP to the committee members focused on landfills as a source of PFAS contamination. View the Presentation
- August, 2021 – DUMP participated in the Memphremagog Community Meeting, Hosted by Secretary Julie Moore from the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources. Here is a link to a video recording of the meeting. Thank you NEK-TV! Agenda for the meeting.
- September, 2021 – The Vermont Department of Conservation released a draft Pretreatment Discharge Permit to renew the disposal of leachate at the Montpelier Wastewater Treatment Facility. The draft permit also contains a condition that requests the landfill company to complete a pilot plan for treating the leachate prior to its disposal in Montpelier. It has been stated publicly that they plan to complete the pilot facility in the Lake Memphremagog watershed. Read Dump’s Public Comment opposing this permit.
- January, 2022 – DUMP published a white paper documenting actions by the Department of Environmental Conservation that denied DUMP a level playing field for
meaningful participation in the processing of an application for the pretreatment of leachate from the NEWSVT Coventry landfill, and two other landfills, prior to discharge in the City of Montpelier wastewater treatment facility (WWTF).
- April, 2022 – DUMP filed a Petition for a Declaratory Ruling with the Secretary of the Agency of Natural Resources. In the petition DUMP contends that the pollutant laden flows from an drain under Phase 3 of the Coventry landfill (UD#3) constitute a “discharge” from a point source and require a NPDES Discharge Permit.DUMP member Peggy Stevens gave testimony to the Vermont House Natural Resources and Fish and Wildlife committee to emphasize the importance of protecting Lake Memphremagog, and the risks the landfill in Coventry poses to the health of the lake and surrounding watershed.
- Future projects – our work continues with research, monitoring, educating and collaborating with others to improve the water quality of Lake Memphremagog and the watershed that feeds it.