MONTPELIER, Vt. — A plan to treat a Lake Champlain tributary with a chemical that kills sea lamprey that prey on game fish is going to go forward this fall, even though Vermont has lowered the amount of the chemical that’s allowed in drinking water, state and federal officials said Wednesday
Gov. Peter Shumlin and others said Wednesday that special filters will be used to ensure the lower standard for the chemical TFM is met in drinking water.
Eel-like lamprey attach themselves to fish and many believe their presence in the lake has hurt populations of lake trout and other species. For years, TFM has been used to kill immature lamprey in rivers in Vermont and New York where they breed, allowing many fish species such as lake trout and Atlantic salmon to build healthy populations.
Earlier this year, the Vermont Health Department lowered the allowable amount of TFM in drinking water from 35 parts per trillion to three.
One of the tributaries that has been treated with TFM, the LaPlatte River, flows into Lake Champlain’s Shelburne Bay near where the 70,000-customer Champlain Water District has its intake.
The plan announced Wednesday will allow the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to install a special carbon filter on the Champlain Water District’s system to ensure the TFM standard is met.