Potential replacement well located in Pownal

POWNAL, Vt. (NEWS10) –  A new water source is the ultimate goal for every community affected by PFOA contamination.

For Pownal, that goal is a little closer.

VT DEC has been focusing on a well site just north of the old Green Mountain Racetrack.

Pownal could be the first community in our area, dealing with PFOA contamination, to finally find a new source of clean drinking water.

“It started growing real fast and I started wondering when we were next. And were next. It’s here,” Christa Chenaille, a Pownal resident, said.

It’s been one year since families in Pownal joined a list of communities struggling with PFOA contamination.

They soon went from bottled water to filtered water. A quick fix many say is just a band aide.

“It was a big inconvenience as far as, you know, the bottled water situation and a filter could obviously go awry at some point later on. And then we’d be dealing with the same thing,” Dawn Fressola, a Pownal resident, said.

A solution may lie near the former Green Mountain Racetrack.  It’s been vacant for more than 20 years.

Vermont’s DEC has been eyeing a site 1,500 feet north of the old track.

Hydrogeologists are hopeful a new well can bring clean drinking water back to Pownal.

The DEC released this statement:

“Three proposed well sites were identified. The preferred site, or Site #1 was the main focus of the site visit.  This site was north of the Green Mountain Race Track, east of the Hoosic River and west of Route 7. It is between the Race track well which is reported to yield 350 gallons per minute and the Pownal Fire District #2 well which has a yield of about 100 gallons per minute.   Yields in this range would meet the Fire District’s water demand.  A well drilled at the site is anticipated to be a gravel well needing a well screen. The site appeared to be some 1000 feet from any potential sources of contamination. Land uses in the area of the proposed site would not prohibit a Zone I.  Sites #2 and #3 are closer to potential sources of contamination.  In addition, these wells are closer to wells that have been detected with PFOA.  Both Sites #1 and #2 would require a water line to be run under the nearby railroad tracks.  A well at Site #3 would require a water line that crosses the Hoosic River.

The next step is to drill a 2 inch diameter pilot well to bedrock at the Site #1 location, asses the lithology of the boring and determine if the site is contaminated with PFOA.  It is anticipated that this will occur in the next two months.  Also, a source permit application must be submitted to the Drinking Water & Groundwater Protection Division.”

This gives families a chance to trust their tap again. Grateful it may come sooner rather than later.

“They are doing a good job. I think they got it done rather quickly in retrospect to other areas,” Fressola said.

The next step is drilling. Crews will drill a pilot well here in about two months to determine whether it’s clear of any contamination.

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