University of Sherbrooke starts ‘observatory’ to monitor Lake Memphremagog’s health

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NEWPORT — The University of Sherbrooke recently announced the establishment of a permanent observatory to monitor the water quality and health of Lake Memphremagog.

The observatory will mobilize an interdisciplinary team and says they will work in close collaboration with local stakeholders and citizens.

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A floating buoy equipped with measuring instruments will soon be launched to start collecting data throughout the year.

Lake Memphremagog serves more than 175,000 people in the Eastern Townships as a source of drinking water.

The lake is threatened by several factors including excessive phosphorus inputs, the presence of invasive species, the development of blue-green algae, recreational activities, the expansion of the landfill in Coventry, as well as the threat of PFAS contamination.

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“Lake Memphremagog is a major tourist attraction in our region,” Magog Mayor Vicki-May Hamm said. “There are many recreational and tourism activities there, but we often forget that it is first and foremost the most important source of drinking water for our citizens.”

The mayor of Sherbrooke, Steve Lussier, maintains that it is essential that the City of Sherbrooke is also involved in the project.

“Lake Memphremagog also provides drinking water to the citizens of Sherbrooke,” Lussier said. “It is our duty to ensure the quality of this natural resource, and I am happy to note that the University of Sherbrooke takes the challenges of our region to heart.”

The buoys will be equipped with water samplers and sediment traps to allow analysis and monitoring of contaminants in the lake.

Continuous monitoring of the health of the lake will be carried out through the deployment of a series of additional buoys.

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