Read the full article by Robin Smith

“NEWPORT CITY — Recent testing at one monitoring well near the old unlined Nadeau landfill in Coventry shows a higher level of chemicals called PFAS than the Vermont drinking water standard, state officials told about 120 people Monday at the Gateway Center.

And elevated levels of PFAS but within state guidelines are found in leachate from the nearby lined landfill in Coventry, the only operating landfill in Vermont which sits at the head of the watershed of international Lake Memphremagog.

Owner Casella is seeking a 10-year permit to expand the New England Waste Service – Vermont (NEWS-VT) landfill. Monitoring wells around it show a low or no presence of PFAS.

The leachate PFAS levels have state officials rethinking how to treat the 11 million gallons of leachate a year produced at the landfill rather than sending it directly to waste water treatment plants in Newport City and elsewhere, said Charles Schwer, director of the Waste Management Division of the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation, part of the Agency of Natural Resources…

The discovery of PFAS in groundwater around an old mill in Bennington led to the shutdown of wells there and drinking water testing in schools and buildings statewide.

A group called DUMP (Don’t Undermine Memphremagog’s Purity) organized Monday’s meeting and wants ANR to delay the landfill expansion, demanding third party testing and research into leachate treatment.

‘We don’t want to continue to be the dumping grounds for all of Vermont,’ DUMP member Charlie Pronto of Newport City said.

Jen Duggan of the Conservation Law Foundation wants ‘a full investigation.’ …

Duggan also asked that the state fully implement its recycling law, reducing or eliminating the need for the landfill expansion.

Leaders of international Memphremagog Conservation Inc. demanded that the lake be named a drinking water reservoir. The lake provides drinking water for 180,000 people in the Magog and Sherbrooke, Quebec region…

The monitoring well near the closed Nadeau dump shows PFAS of 116 parts per trillion, over the drinking water level of 20 parts per trillion, testing shows.

Another well down gradient from the lined landfill had 6.7 parts per trillion.

The unlined landfill is partially in the wetlands of the Black River system that leads to South Bay of Lake Memphremagog.

The Act 250 commission has long wanted the landfill owner to clean up the Nadeau dump, but state officials are concerned that the clean up would release more hazardous chemicals into the watershed than are currently leaking out.

The Nadeau dump was closed due to stricter standards and capped in 1992, said Cathy Jamieson, director of the Solid Waste Division of ANR…

Testing in March showed that leachate from the Coventry landfill and other closed landfills in Vermont have elevated levels of PFAS.

The Coventry landfill has a level of either 1,850 or 1,050 parts per trillion, based on a July sampling report

The maximum allowed state guideline for PFAS in landfill leachate is 120,000 parts per trillion…

‘In all cases, the results were below DEC-recommended guideline concentrations that would require treatment by the landfill prior to off-site management,’ according to the results report.

Yet those levels are high enough to raise some concern, Schwer said.”