Gov. Shumlin provides update on North Bennington water contamination

MONTPELIER, Vt. (NEWS10) – Gov. Peter Shumlin provided the following update on the situation in North Bennington where a number of private wells are affected by PFOA contamination.

North Bennington Water Testing Results: The final round of well samples within the 1.5 mile radius around the former Chemfab plant were received on Sunday. Of the 43 new results received, eight private wells showed PFOA levels above the Health Department’s advisory level of 20ppt. The latest results range from 25 ppt to 241 ppt. Two samples had detections below 20ppt and 33 samples did not detect PFOA.  In total, approximately 185 water samples have been taken to date. Of the wells sampled, 104 were above 20ppt, 11 were less than 20 ppt, and 63 wells did not detect PFOA. The results generally show levels of PFOA closest to the former Chemfab plant. The 1.5 mile radius has now been expanded in three areas (map: http://www.anr.state.vt.us/dec/PFOA.htm). Additional testing of the North Bennington public water system, including samples from the elementary school, have confirmed no PFOA contamination.

Bottled Water & Treatment Systems: Point of Entry Treatment systems are being offered to impacted residents and are being paid for by Saint-Gobain. Thus far, 20 systems have been installed. The remaining 84 installations for impacted home owners are being scheduled this week. Bottled water remains available at the North Bennington Village Variety Store, located at 9 Route 67 West, and is being delivered to impacted homes.  Two water tanks from which residents can draw water are located in the parking lot across from the former Chemfab plant located at the intersection of Water Street and Route 67a.

Testing on Northside Drive: The former Chemfab facility had its original location in Bennington on Northside Drive. The overwhelming majority of individuals in this area are on municipal water, which has been tested and is not impacted by PFOA. DEC took a water sample from one private well on Northside Drive. Results show levels of PFOA above 20ppt. The family has been alerted and bottled water is being delivered. A municipal hook up is available at this site. DEC is working with Bennington officials to review well data to determine if there is any other well sampling that needs to be done in the immediate area in the immediate future.

Pownal Water Sampling: Based on concerns from local residents, three water samples have been collected from the Pownal Fire District #2 system, which is located 1,000 feet from the former Warren Wire Plant #1. DEC has no reason to believe this source is affected by PFOA contamination but has taken samples out of an abundance of caution. Results from this sampling are expected within one to two weeks.

Notifying Affected Residents – The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) continues to notify residents of test results on an ongoing basis, and is coordinating the installation of water treatment systems. The Health Department is also reaching out by phone to residents who have just received test results.

Information Center – An information center remains open at the Vermont Department of Health offices located at 324 Main Street and will be open from 8am-6pm Monday-Friday this week. Officials from DEC and Health will be on hand to answer follow up questions from residents.

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