Thousands of Gallons of Toxic Garbage Juice Leak at Coventry Landfill  

Potentially putting in danger thousands of people’s health.

Aerial view of Newport Vermont.

Photo: Shutterstock.

March 5, 2024 (MONTPELIER, VT) – Nearly 9,000 gallons of leachate – a toxic wastewater created when water from rain or snow seeps through the waste in landfills – spilled at Coventry landfill in Vermont on Feb. 24. The leak occurred when a new treatment system malfunctioned.

Despite widespread objection and deep concerns in the community, landfill owner Casella Waste Systems was operating the leachate treatment system without Vermont Department of Conservation approval, as required by law. 

“This is exactly the type of calamity that community members feared,” said CLF attorney Nora Bosworth. “Casella has a responsibility to ensure the health and safety of the community in all of its operations. The company has failed in that duty.”

Leachate contains poly- and perfluorochemicals, forever chemicals tied to serious health effects, and other toxics known to harm the environment and human health.  

“While we support Vermont’s efforts to address the presence of toxic forever chemicals in landfill leachate, the state cannot let a landfill operator continue to pilot unproven technology without a permit,” said Peter Blair, Policy and Advocacy Director at Just Zero. “Allowing Casella to develop and operate a treatment system without public input or scientific review always threatened to create a situation just like this.”

This is Casella’s second leachate spill in the last three years. In 2021, a similar spill occurred at one of Casella’s landfills in New Hampshire. In that instance, 154,000 gallons of leachate overflowed from holding tanks and spilled into the surrounding area. 

Experts are available for further comment.