Archives for March 2016

State Update: No. Bennington Surface Water Test Results For PFOA (3/31/16)


March 31, 2016

Update on Surface Water Testing Results in Bennington

MONTPELIER – Gov. Peter Shumlin today provided an update on surface water testing from Bennington and North Bennington. Ten water samples were taken for testing from local creeks and ponds at locations around the former Chemfab facilities to help determine the source and extent of PFOA contamination.

Surface water concentrations of PFOA ranged from no detection (less than 7 parts per trillion) to 79 parts per trillion. The highest PFOA concentration was the surface water sample from the pond on the Bennington College Campus.  PFOA concentrations in the four water samples from Paran Creek ranged from 16 to 38 parts per trillion.  PFOA concentrations between 8 and 9 parts per trillion were detected in the water samples collected from the Walloomsac River just upstream and downstream of Paran Creek.  No PFOA was detected in the water samples from Lake Paran or in the Walloomsac River just upstream and downstream of its confluence with the Roaring Branch.

“It is unlikely these concentrations would pose an ecological risk to fish and other aquatic organisms in these waters,” said Department of Fish & Wildlife Commissioner Louis Porter.

The PFOA concentrations found in the waters tested are much lower than concentrations that could be harmful to freshwater organisms. For example, in reviewing acute toxicity studies, PFOA at concentrations of 752,000,000 ppt was shown to have a negative effect on rainbow trout.

The Health Department states that the PFOA levels found in the water bodies are much lower than levels that would be a risk to people who swim there. In general, PFOA does not accumulate in fish very much, and many fish that are sampled across the country do not have detectable levels of PFOA.

Fulfilling their commitment to the North Bennington community, the Agency of Agriculture, Department of Health, Department of Fish and Wildlife, and DEC will work together in the coming weeks to test fish in the area as a precaution.

Department staff will use both surface water and sediment results to continue determining how PFOA is distributed in the environment within these communities, in order to develop a long-term remediation plan.


Notice – Bennington Co. Solid Waste District is Selling Composting Bins for Residential Use

The Bennington County Solid Waste Alliance is selling two types of composting containers. This offer is for residents of the Towns of Arlington, Bennington, Dorset, Glastenbury, Manchester, Rupert, Pownal, Sandgate, Searsburg, Shaftsbury, Stamford, Sunderland and Woodford.

You can find out more information on the Bennington County Solid Waste Alliance at If you have any questions, please contact Michael S. Batcher at or call (802) 442-0713 x 2.

BCSWA 2016 Compost Bin Sale

Bennington Select Board Meeting – March 28, 2016

M E E T I N G   N O T I C E
Monday, March 28, 2016
Bennington Fire Facility
Multi-Purpose Room – 3rd Floor
130 River Street
Bennington, VT 05201

6:00 PM

  1. Pledge of Allegiance
  2. Consent Agenda (6:01 PM – 6:05 PM)
    A.   Minutes – March 14, 2016
    B.   Warrants
    C.   Proclamation – National Library Week
  3. Citizens (15 Minutes Maximum)(6:05 PM – 6:20 PM)
  4. Amendment to Land Use Regulations – UMU District – Board Deliberation (6:20 PM – 6:30 PM)
  5.                                            1ST Public Hearing
    Amendments to Town Plan – Solar Facilities (6:30 PM – 6:55 PM)
  6. Rail/Trail – Overview and Status Update (6:55 PM – 7:10 PM)
  7. Neighbor Works CDBG Application – Board Deliberation (7:10 PM – 7:20 PM)
  8. Funding Requests:  WBTN and All Species Day (7:20 PM – 7:30 PM)
  9. 2016 Liquor License Applications (7:30 PM – 7:35 PM) 
  10. Manager’s Report (7:35 PM – 7:45 PM)
  11.  Other Business (7:45 PM – 8:00 PM)
  12. Executive Session
    A. Real Estate


Press Release: Bennington and No. Bennington Town Water Systems PFOA Free

March 24, 2016

Bennington and No. Bennington Town Water Systems Free of PFOA


BENNINGTON, VERMONT (March 24, 2016 @ 5:30PM EST) – In February 2016 it was determined that a number of residential drinking wells around the former ChemFab facility, which operated in North Bennington, Vermont from the early 70s until 2000, had become contaminated with a compound known as PFOA (Perfluorooctanoic Acid). Since that time, the State of Vermont has collected over 150 well samples and is in the process conducting ground and surface water samples.

Both the Bennington municipal water system and the North Bennington municipal water system have tested free of PFOA. These systems include any property that is directly connected to the towns’ water systems and that pays the municipalities for water service.  Bennington’s Water system, which gets its water from Bolles Brook on Woodford Mountain, as well as Morgan Spring, runs as far west as Carbone Auto Group on Route 67A, and North Bennington’s water system, which receives water from Glastenbury, VT, begins on the western side of Paran Creek and includes the village of North Bennington, as well as the Bennington College campus.

Only individuals who have been accessing potable well water, within the vicinity of the former ChemFab manufacturing plant, are at risk of PFOA exposure by water.

PFOA is a chemical compound that was used in the manufacturing of a number of products including various plastics and Teflon. PFOA was banned in the United States in 2015; however, it’s remnants still remain due to the chemicals inability to breakdown easily. More information about PFOA and the ongoing situation can be found at



For more information about this press release:
Michael Harrington, Economic and Community Development Director and
Public Affairs Liaison
Town of Bennington

State Press Release: Pownal Water System PFOA Test Results


March 24, 2016

Gov. Shumlin Updates on Testing Results from Pownal

MONTPELIER – Test results received today from a municipal well in Pownal show levels of PFOA that are slightly above the advisory level set by the Vermont Department of Health. Three samples taken from the Fire District #2 municipal water source in Pownal – which serves up to 450 residents – showed PFOA levels of between 26 and 27 parts per trillion (ppt). Those results are slightly above an advisory PFOA level of 20 ppt that has been set by the Department of Health.

Because the results indicated PFOA levels slightly above the advisory level, the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is advising impacted residents to stop drinking the water.

DEC is arranging for drinking water distribution to residents whose homes are on the affected municipal source. Water will be made available to anyone who wants it, regardless of age, starting tomorrow. Water will be available at the Pownal Rescue Squad, 22 Ladd Brook Road starting tomorrow morning. DEC is working to determine the best way to address the low levels of PFOA in the drinking water.

PFOA is a possible carcinogen. Following news reports of potential PFOA contamination in Hoosick Falls, N.Y., Vermont tested public and private wells in North Bennington surrounding the former Chem Fab plant. The public wells in North Bennington and Bennington are not impacted, but about 90 private wells in the area have shown PFOA levels over 20 ppt.

After the testing in North Bennington was underway, DEC officials were contacted by a number of residents about possible dumping at a former manufacturing site in Pownal located at the former Warren Wire Plant #1. DEC worked with the EPA to collect samples last week from a well that is located about 1,000 feet from that site. Given the low levels of PFOA present in the results received today, it is not likely the contamination is more widespread in Pownal. However, DEC officials will collect additional water and soil samples in the area in the coming days.

PFOA is an emerging containment. It is not a chemical that is tested for in standard water tests or listed on a list of hazardous chemicals under federal law that require management. There is no at-home test that detects PFOA. The test for PFOA requires samples be sent out-of-state. PFOA can be harmful when ingested, but it is not absorbed through the skin if present in water used for washing.

Between 2013 and 2015, 10 municipal supplies around Vermont were sampled for PFOA and other emerging chemicals. PFOA was not detected in any of those wells, including Bennington, Barre City, Brattleboro, Burlington, Jay Peak Basin Complex, Lyndonville, Rutland City, Shaftsbury, South Burlington and Winhall Stratton Fire District 1.

A community meeting is scheduled for Monday, March 28, at 6:00 p.m. in the American Legion Hall. Vermont DEC and Health officials and others will be on hand to answer questions. If residents have questions or concerns or need water because they are connected to the Pownal Fire District #2 supply, they should call 2-1-1.


Benmont Ave Bridge Update – 3/24/16

Project Update

PROJECT LOCATION: Benmont Ave. Bridge
Work to be completed on the Benmont Ave. bridge will begin approximately 400 ft. north of the intersection with Hunt St. and extend northerly along Benmont Ave. for approximately 300 ft.

BRIDGE WORK:  The contractor has cut the h-piles and excavated the abutment to final grade at Abutment 2. Rebar and forms have been installed at the piers. Crews are scheduled to excavate Abutment 1 to final footing grade and cut the h-piles throughout the week of 3/28/16. When this has been completed, crews will begin to form the abutments.

TRAFFIC DELAYS: Periodic closures will result in slightly increased travel time for motorists. Please allow extra time in your travel plans when traveling through the project area.

DETOUR INFORMATION: This is just a reminder that when traveling EAST on Northside Dr. (heading towards Route 7), the only businesses accessible via the slip lane are Taco Bell/KFC and/or Gardner’s Motorsports. To access points south of the bridge on Benmont Ave., through-traffic should continue on Northside Drive and proceed to Route 7 South and follow the detour.

The Benmont Ave. bridge will continue to remain closed to southbound traffic for the duration of this project. Motorists may not travel across the bridge going southbound at any time during this project, either during construction hours or after hours. Please observe all construction and detour signs. Thank you.

PEDESTRIAN DETOUR:  The pedestrian detour will remain in place until the end of construction. Please note sidewalk closures and adhere to the signed pedestrian detour route.

Drivers are warned to exercise extreme caution on granular surfaced roadways in a work zone. Punctured tires and windshield damage could occur if material flies up from the surface of the road. Maintain a safe distance between vehicles and obey the speed limit.

Please focus on safety when driving through the construction work zone and remember, it is now against the law to use a hand held cell phone while driving in Vermont.

Contact Natalie Boyle, Project Outreach Coordinator, GPI, Inc. with any questions or concerns in regard to this project at 802-310-7822, or


State Update: Additional Sampling Locations and POETs (3/21/16)


March 21, 2016

Ongoing Well Sampling –The DEC, with our contractor Weston & Sampson, continues to sample additional drinking water wells in North Bennington.  Currently wells to be sampled include wells not sampled within the 1.5 mile area of concern, additional wells in the expanded area of concern along the following roads; Silk Road, Vail Road, Fairview Street, Orebed Road, Emmons Road, Harrington Road to Route 67W, and Rout 67W west of Harrington Road, wells already sampled that have PFOA detections less than 20 parts per trillion (ppt), and a limited number of wells which had non-detect PFOA concentrations where confirmation sampling is needed.  DEC samplers will reach out to the owners of these wells.  Samples will be collected from wells within these described areas for residents who have contacted the DEC.

Soil Sampling Soil sampling has been occurring over the past week and will continue this week.  The DEC approved the soil sampling screening plan which was proposed by Saint-Gobain’s contractor.  The sampling plan includes more than 100 samples at over 25 locations.  Results will be available in the coming weeks.   Soil samples were collected in eight different directions from the former Chemfab plant at varying distances to attempt to determine if soil contamination exists around the former plant and at locations where if there is any soil contamination it would be expected to be at its highest concentrations at these locations.  Once we get the results we will use this information to determine if additional sampling is required.  Individual residences are not being sampled at this time.   Soil sampling at the Hoosick Falls site in New York found very little PFOA contamination to the soils.

Point-of-entry Treatment Systems (POETs) –  POET installation has begun on any wells having PFOA above the 20 ppt standard. Once the POET has been installed system sampling will occur to ensure the filtration is performing as expected.  This sampling will begin on Wednesday.  POET sampling will be completed on an ongoing basis until all systems have been installed by Culligan.  Beyond this, POET sampling will be completed monthly for the first 3 months, and then evaluated to determine if the sampling frequency can be modified to something less than every month.  For the initial event (following installation) samples will be collected from the influent and effluent sampling ports for PFC analysis by Method 537, and from the effluent port only for Arsenic (Arsenic can be in the carbon filters but should quickly flush though the system if this is a problem) by standard methods.  Subsequent sampling will involve the collection of samples from the influent, midpoint and effluent sampling ports for PFCs.  If arsenic is below 10 ppb in the initial sample, its analysis will be curtailed.  If not, the system will be re-sampled to confirm arsenic levels have declined to below standards.  Culligan had some initial problems with arsenic in carbon, but has since purchased pre-washed carbon that should alleviate much of this problem.

State Press Release: Round 3 Test Results For Wells in No. Bennington and Bennington

March 21, 2016

Gov. Shumlin Provides Update on North Bennington Situation

MONTPELIER – Gov. Peter Shumlin provided the following update on the situation in North Bennington where a number of private wells are affected by PFOA contamination.

North Bennington Water Testing Results – The final round of well samples within the 1.5 mile radius around the former Chemfab plant were received yesterday. Of the 43 new results received, eight private wells showed PFOA levels above the Health Department’s advisory level of 20ppt. The latest results range from 25 ppt to 241 ppt. Two samples had detections below 20ppt and 33 samples did not detect PFOA.  In total, approximately 185 water samples have been taken to date. Of the wells sampled, 104 were above 20ppt, 11 were less than 20 ppt, and 63 wells did not detect PFOA. The results generally show levels of PFOA closest to the former Chemfab plant. The 1.5 mile radius has now been expanded in three areas (map: Additional testing of the North Bennington public water system, including samples from the elementary school, have confirmed no PFOA contamination.

Bottled Water & Treatment Systems –  Point of Entry Treatment systems are being offered to impacted residents and are being paid for by Saint-Gobain. Thus far, 20 systems have been installed. The remaining 84 installations for impacted home owners are being scheduled this week. Bottled water remains available at the North Bennington Village Variety Store, located at 9 Route 67 West, and is being delivered to impacted homes.  Two water tanks from which residents can draw water are located in the parking lot across from the former Chemfab plant located at the intersection of Water Street and Route 67a.

Testing on Northside Drive: The former Chemfab facility had its original location in Bennington on Northside Drive. The overwhelming majority of individuals in this area are on municipal water, which has been tested and is not impacted by PFOA. DEC took a water sample from one private well on Northside Drive. Results show levels of PFOA above 20ppt. The family has been alerted and bottled water is being delivered. A municipal hook up is available at this site. DEC is working with Bennington officials to review well data to determine if there is any other well sampling that needs to be done in the immediate area in the immediate future.

Pownal Water Sampling: Based on concerns from local residents, three water samples have been collected from the Pownal Fire District #2 system, which is located 1,000 feet from the former Warren Wire Plant #1. DEC has no reason to believe this source is affected by PFOA contamination but has taken samples out of an abundance of caution. Results from this sampling are expected within one to two weeks.

Notifying Affected Residents – The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) continues to notify residents of test results on an ongoing basis, and is coordinating the installation of water treatment systems. The Health Department is also reaching out by phone to residents who have just received test results.

Information Center – An information center remains open at the Vermont Department of Health offices located at 324 Main Street and will be open from 8am-6pm Monday-Friday this week. Officials from DEC and Health will be on hand to answer follow up questions from residents.


Easter Egg Hunt @ Willow Park – March 26, 2016 at 11:00 a.m.

The Bennington Parks & Recreation Department is sponsoring their annual Easter Egg Hunt at Willow Park, Bennington, VT on Saturday, March 26 starting promptly at 11:00 a.m. Upper Willow Pavilion, East Road. For Ages 2-10 years.

State Press Release: Gov. Shumlin Updates No. Benn Residents on PFOA Contamination Status (3/16/16)

March 16, 2016

Gov. Shumlin Updates North Bennington Residents on PFOA Contamination Affecting Some Private Wells

BENNINGTON – Gov. Peter Shumlin this evening met with North Bennington-area residents concerned about the contamination of a number of private wells by a potentially harmful chemical known as PFOA. The public water source has been tested multiple times in the last month and is not impacted.

At a community meeting at Bennington College, Gov. Shumlin and his team of environmental and health officials shared the results that have come back from the initial testing of roughly 190 private wells in a 1.5 mile radius around the former Chemfab plant. Of the 134 results received thus far:

  • 94 private wells showed PFOA levels above the Health Department’s acceptable level of 20 parts per trillion (ppt). Those results ranged from 32ppt to 2,730ppt.
  • 7 samples had detections below 20ppt.
  • 32 samples did not detect PFOA.

The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has mapped the results and determined that additional testing should be conducted in three areas outside of the initial 1.5 mile radius, representing up to 100 additional wells. Residents in those areas will be notified, water samples will be collected, and residents will be provided bottled water while test results are pending. Results from these additional test are expected in about two weeks.

“It is good news that we have been able to identify a number of areas where we feel confident the contamination has not spread,” Gov. Shumlin said. “We’re obviously concerned about a few areas where we believe the contamination might extend beyond the original 1.5 mile radius. We’ll immediately notify residents, get them on bottled water, and conduct tests. We are working out of an abundance of caution when it comes to identifying additional wells to test.”

The Governor also highlighted that soil sampling began today around the former Chemfab facility and will include samples at impacted residences. The sampling plan will include more than 100 samples at over 25 locations. Results will be available in the coming weeks.

At the meeting, DEC, the Department of Health, and Agency of Agriculture also provided an update to residents on the potential impacts of PFOA on agricultural products. Through the soil sampling that began today, the nature and extent of the contamination will be determined before taking the step to test local agricultural products. This approach allows the State to identify the impacted areas and provide assistance to residents within those areas. Health officials noted that the immediate concern is determining those with impacted drinking water, as that is the most likely source of long-term exposure to PFOA. A factsheet provided to residents is attached.

DEC continues to go door to door to explain the results, answer questions, and coordinate installation of water treatment systems for residents whose wells have tested positive for PFOA contamination. The Health Department is also reaching out by phone to residents who have just received test results that show their well is contaminated with PFOA.

Bottled water remains available at the North Bennington Village Variety Store, located at 9 Route 67 West, and is being delivered to impacted homes.  Two water tanks from which residents can draw water are located in the parking lot across from the former Chemfab plant located at the intersection of Water Street and Route 67a.

An information center has been set up at the Vermont Department of Health offices located at 324 Main Street and will be open from 8am-6pm Monday-Friday. Officials from DEC and Health will be on hand to answer follow up questions from residents.