BENNINGTON, Vt. (NEWS10) — After four years, many neighbors in Bennington can now cook, shower, and drink their water without worrying about PFOA—contaminants that have been linked to cancer. The smokestack emissions from a closed local plant reportedly contained PFOA and were windborne, contaminating groundwater in areas south and east of the plant.
“PFOA was discovered after the ChemFab plant closed here,” explained Stewart Hurd, Bennington Town Manager. “ChemFab was purchased by Saint-Gobain.” He continued, “We had a situation where 450-500 homes and businesses that were served by wells had been contaminated. The state stepped in, negotiated with Saint-Gobain. Saint-Gobain agreed to spend monies to connect all of these known polluted wells to municipal water if we could get it there.”
The municipal water sources of North Bennington and Bennington were not contaminated with PFOA. The town is now supplying water to those with private wells that are. Bennington resident Lora Block said that after having to use bottled water, having town water has been a sigh of relief.
“I am very thankful that the governor pushed the attorney general and all his agencies, the executive agencies, to keep fighting,” stated Block.
“It’s done for us, really, ” said Hurd. “But it’s been a long haul, and I think from our perspective, we were successful. Thank God the state of Vermont stepped in when it did. And thank God Saint-Gobain didn’t fight us.”