An engineering firm claims to have saved Brome lake: clarification!

An article appearing on August 31, 2013 in a national Quebec business journal and presenting a file on several achievements by Quebec engineering caught our eye, with the result that we feel the need to clarify matters.

Rarely have we read so much rubbish, oversimplifications and hyperbole in so few words. Imagining that Brome Lake has been saved, its water purified of blue-green algae and significant success attained is pure fantasy and lends itself more to a paid publicity report (infomercial) than a serious article.

While we understand the need to develop business opportunities on the part of certain engineering firms, it should definitely not come at the cost of rigorous scientific scrutiny about a problem which is very complex.

 The only thing sustainable over the long haul that this project has left in our community has been an exorbitant bill in excess of $500,000, a few retention ponds to slow down water run-off and two installations whose functioning capacity is doubtful: these filtering marshes only treat a fraction of 1% of the water which flows into the lake. We are a considerable distance from the “demonstrated” major success. We more than rolled our eyes in June 2013 when the environmental awards were handed out complete with the laudatory comment “this project, considered to be a source of inspiration in the area of social acceptance, has demonstrated the environmental benefits of the integrated management of water on a drainage basin basis”. What irony for a controversial project which has not kindly been received by the community.

We firmly and unequivocally denounce this use of the Brome Lake experience in which a certain company has easy success. We implore the municipalities and the watershed associations to examine in depth the advantages and costs of such interventions and technologies before signing on the dotted line.

The magic thinking that permeates in this article should make us more cautious when we face the problem of restoring health to lakes, which all the scientists recognize as being a complex, lengthy and multi-factor challenge.

To read the article, click here (in french)