NORTH BENNINGTON, Vt. (NEWS10) – One of the companies deemed responsible for PFOA contamination in Hoosick Falls is also paying for bottled water in North Bennington.
Multiple private wells in North Bennington, a commercial well, and the Bedrock Drinking Water Well at the Bennington Wastewater Treatment Plant tested positive for the chemical PFOA. As a result, the Department of Environmental Conservation has begun collecting water samples from the 80 to 100 homes within a 1.5 mile radius of the former ChemFab facility.
The public water supply was not affected.
“I certainly think that’s a safe statement that some or all of these wells will show some level of PFOA, but we still want to get the information to know and also see where it’s the worst and where it’s not,” Richard Spiese, Vermont DEC, said. “And we’ll use that information to try and determine where the contaminant has traveled.”
DEC staff members will go door-to-door to take samples. Sampling is expected to last through Friday and longer if necessary
“We probably won’t get through all of them today, but our sampling team, we are probably looking at sampling around 100 wells,” Spiese said.
An emergency operations center has been set up at the Vermont Department of Health Offices at 324 Main St. The center is meant to be a resource for residents with questions.
“How could this happen in such a beautiful area?” North Bennington homeowner Mary Marine wondered. “I just never anticipated anything like that.”
Vermont officials met with Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics on Monday. The company took over for ChemFab and operated the plant in North Bennington until it closed in 2002. The company agreed to pay for bottled water for affected residents and the tests being run on private wells in North Bennington.
Saint-Gobain has also agreed to initiate, install, maintain, and sample Point of Entry Treatment systems on each impacted water supply.
The Marines said it’s not much comfort, but they’re happy to see the state is taking action.
“You think the water you’re drinking is fine, and you find this out – that it could be cancer forming or whatever,” they said. “Yeah, it bothers you.”
The Vermont Department of Health and the DEC have both launched websites on the North Bennington situation:
Health Commissioner Dr. Harry Chen will hold a briefing Tuesday for doctors in the Bennington area with general information on potential health impacts of PFOA water contamination.
STATEMENT FROM SAINT GOBAIN SPOKESPERSON:
We understand that tests commissioned by the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation showed no detection of PFOA in the public water system for Bennington. The tests did reveal elevated levels of PFOA in three residential private wells, as well as two commercial sites. Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics has contacted state and local officials and has offered to fund the provision of bottled water and point-of-use filtration systems for these locations and others that might be affected. We will cooperate with all local, state and federal officials as they investigate and manage this issue.
Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics acquired the Chemfab plant in North Bennington, Vermont, in 2000 and closed the facility for production in 2002. The PTFE raw materials that were purchased during our operation of the site did include PFOA. Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics never manufactured PFOA or PTFE at any of its locations. We purchase PTFE from suppliers to manufacture products for various industries.