NORTH BENNINGTON, Vt. (NEWS10) – Many North Bennington families will soon have clean tap water as the state expands its testing for PFOA.
Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin announced on Monday that eight more wells in North Bennington are contaminated with the chemical PFOA. He said there could be more because the state is expanding its testing.
But many families will soon have clean tap water that is paid for by Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics. Twenty carbon filters have been installed in North Bennington homes, and 84 more are scheduled for the week.
The Ridley family had a carbon filtration system installed in their home over the weekend.
“I still have doubts about drinking the water because it still hasn’t been tested,” Robert Ridley said.
A few weeks ago, the couple learned their water had some of the highest contamination levels in the village – more than 100 times the amount of PFOA the state considers safe.
“I said, ‘Is that really 2,200?’ He said, ‘Yes,’ and I said, ‘Good thing we aren’t drinking the water now.’”
The Ridleys live about one-quarter mile from the old ChemFab plant. It can be seen through the trees in their backyard.
“We were cheering when it closed down,” Ridley said. “We were like, ‘Whoa, yeah, it’s gone. That bad smell.’ Little did we know underlying it all there was something creeping on us.”
PFOA has been linked with cancer, and it has caused Ridley to question his health issues.
“Geeze, I’ve been healthy as a horse, and then all of these things started happening, and I was like, ‘Wow, maybe this is related to it,’” he said.
Despite being scared for their well-being, the couple said they’re happy with Vermont’s response, including a PFOA information center. The center was busy on Monday. The state Department of Environmental Conservation fielded questions from 25 people.
The Ridleys still have questions and fears, but they said things are moving in the right direction.
“I can’t overemphasize what they have done so quickly, and you kept hearing so many horror stories about what was happening in Hoosick Falls, and they did all those things,” Ridley said.
The Ridleys said they’ll continue drinking the provided water they know is safe until their tap water is tested again and proves the new filtration system is working. In the future, they hope to be connected to the municipal water supply.