Some Pownal residents told not to drink water due to PFOA contaminant

POWNAL, Vt. (NEWS10) – PFOA test results have been returned from a municipal well in the town of Pownal.

Test results show that PFOA levels are slightly above the advisory level set by the Vermont Department of Health.

Three samples were taken from the Fire District #2 municipal water source in Pownal. It showed levels between 26 parts per trillion and 27 ppt. The advisory set by the Vermont DOH is 20 ppt.

The water source where the samples were taken serves up to 450 homes and businesses in the community. The possible source for the chemical could come from an old factory formerly owned by Warren Wire.

Warren Wire used to produce wire coated with Teflon. The vacant warehouse has been owned by Mack Molding since 1988.

Concerns about dumping from people living in the area prompted the state to turn their attention to Pownal.

mack molding warren wire pownal vermont pfoa

“It’s a very scary situation now that it’s literally right at the front door,” Pownal resident Christa Chenaille said.

PFOA used to be a chemical that Chenaille only heard about on the news. She wasn’t too concerned.

“It wasn’t directly affecting me, and then it started growing,” she said. “It started growing real fast. And I was wondering if we were next. And we’re next. We’re here.”

Chenaille has lived in the town for 21 years. She has heard rumors of dumping from the old factory.

“People always said, ‘Don’t fish in the stream; don’t eat the trout,’” she said.

Her first priority is her three, young children.

“I got very scared and nervous and decided that I needed to start asking some questions,” she said.

Chenaille discovered the school her children attend is on a private well, but they will get tested. In her home, they are strictly only using bottled water.

“I just told the children, from here on out, bottled water,” she said. “Brushing our teeth – bottled water. So I’m very concerned because you don’t know right now.”

The Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation is also advising impacted residents to stop drinking the water.

Water will be made available to anyone who wants it beginning Friday morning. Water will be available at the Pownal Rescue Squad on Ladd Brook Road. The state is also looking into delivery to the affected homes.

The DEC will expand its testing to more wells and soil in Pownal.

A community meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. on March 28 in the American Legion Hall. Vermont DEC and health officials will be on hand to answer questions.

Any residents who have questions or need water because they are connected to the Pownal Fire District #2 supply should call 211.

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