We've had our share of boil water advisories in Montreal. Although we've never had to boil our drinking water for more than a few days at a time, the idea of something that we need in order to survive becoming toxic is a pretty scary prospect.
What if we're unknowingly drinking contaminated water? Not many of us truly know where and how our water gets to us, so really it could be coming from some pretty nasty places that could lead to some horrific health problems.
That's the dilemma Quebecers living close to the U.S.-Canada border are facing right now. It turns out their tap water may be coming straight from a lake heavily contaminated with landfill.
The main water supply for Quebec municipalities in the Eastern Townships comes from a lake on the Canadian side of the border. A giant landfill neighbours the lake on the U.S. side.
Leachate, the sludge that leaks from garbage at landfills is collected and supposedly treated. After that, the "cleaned" water makes it's way into the lake that supplies Quebec homes.
The biggest concern at hand is that toxicity testing on the water hasn't been conducted since 2009. So, there's really no way of knowing whether or not the water is actually just toxic waste and if Quebecers are at risk by using the water on a daily basis.
On top of that, there's also a huge concern for any environmental impact this has on the lake's ecosystem. With no information or testing whatsoever in almost a decade, things could be beyond repair.
Although the state of Vermont says the leachate is tested regularly for toxic levels, there's been absolutely no testing on the lake itself in nine years.
As of now, testing on the fish and algae in the lake has just concluded, but it may be a little while before results are made public.
In the meantime, the landfill across the border responsible for the lake sludge is awaiting a permit to begin its expansion. So, yes, this may be getting way worse.
Hopefully the lake is completely non-toxic, only plagued by how gross the idea of dumping garbage sludge in the water is. Otherwise, both Quebec and Vermont will have a serious problem on their hands.
TLDR; A Quebec lake used for drinking water frequently has landfill sludge from Vermont dumped into it. The toxicity levels on the lake have not been tested since 2009, causing a major concern for its environmental impact on both sides of the border.