$34M settlement reached over PFOA contamination in Bennington

Vermont News
Water

Water from a sink (Photo Illustration by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

BENNINGTON, Vt. (NEWS10/AP) — A settlement has been reached in a class-action lawsuit over PFOA contamination in Bennington. The settlement with Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corporation requires them to pay $34.15 million to affected Bennington residents.

“This settlement provides significant compensation and medical monitoring to the Bennington community affected by the PFOA contamination, and we strongly support it,” said James Sullivan, spokesperson for the plaintiffs and class representatives. “We especially want to initiate the medical monitoring program as soon as possible. “

The settlement compensates property owners for their PFOA contamination and provides medical monitoring for eligible residents who drank contaminated water and have elevated levels of PFOA in their blood. The corporation is also required to pay up to $6 million for a new 15-year medical monitoring program.

The U.S. District Court for the District of Vermont still needs to approve the settlement, including the method for allocating the money, before the funds are available and the medical monitoring program is created. The program will provide free testing and monitoring for certain medical conditions.

The plant was closed in 2002, but PFOA, one of a group of contaminants often known as “forever chemicals,” was discovered in 2016 after the situation in Hoosick Falls, New York. PFOA has been known to cause kidney, testicular and other cancers and diseases. Levels of PFOA in the blood decrease over a number of years, the newspaper said.

Compensation for property owners will be based on several factors, including the value of the property before the contamination was discovered and whether the owners drank from a contaminated well. A judge must approve the settlement before the funds are allocated to the property owners who were affected by the containments.

Plaintiffs have been waiting five years for this settlement. The lawsuit was filed in 2016 after PFOA was found in homes linked to an old ChemFab site in North Bennington. The settlement is on behalf of 2,300 Bennington and North Bennington properties and a smaller group of between 500 and 1,000 residents who drank the contaminated well-water.

Vermont has since replaced residence wells with municipal water lines throughout Bennington. Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corporation agreed to repay the state for the water line work.

PFOAs have also been found in Petersburgh, Hoosick Falls, and most recently, Poestenkill. Settlements for the contaminations have been reached in Petersburgh and Hoosick Falls.

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