DUMP, or “Don’t Undermine Memphremagog’s Purity,” is a grassroots group formed one year ago after people in the Northeast Kingdom learned that the Coventry landfill was slated to expand. We also learned that the Casella-owned corporation (NEWSVT) was the only lined landfill in the state; that 600,000 tons of garbage would continue to head our way annually, delivered by trucks from around the state and New England, traveling 20,000 miles a day; that the trash mountain would grow 100 feet higher and 51 acres larger; and that the carcinogenic PFAS which exist in the “garbage juice” leachate are forever chemicals and are being released into all of Vermont’s waters.

Yes, Vermonters, this landfill is now in your backyard, too. An important recent condition established as part of Act 250’s permit will affect all of the state. The leachate will not be allowed to enter Lake Memphremagog via the wastewater treatment plant until a method for removing the PFAS can be installed — which currently does not exist or is possible.

But it will continue to head to Montpelier (which also gets Newport’s share), Barre, Burlington, Essex Junction, and Plattsburgh, New York, according to the Act 250 permit. And thus, Lake Champlain, the focus of statewide concern and many dollars, is being further polluted as the waters all travel west toward Vermont’s crown jewel. If the leachate is considered unsafe for Newport, why would it be okay for the rest of our state’s towns and lakes?

This is past time for action. Vermont’s water and our public health are far too precious to put at risk.

We have so many other issues surrounding how Vermont attempts to manage its solid waste. Visit nolakedump.com or the Facebook page, Don’t Undermine Memphremagog’s Purity, for more information. But the precautionary principle is number one. What price are we willing to set on human health and life itself?

It’s up to all of us to work together and make Vermont be the green state that solves problems and develops opportunities to address these issues. We need to make sure the state’s leadership offers all of us a route to a healthy and sustainable economic and environmental future. Vermonters, please join your Northeast Kingdom friends and fight for clean water and air.

Lindy Sargent lives in Barton.

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