State of Vermont – PFOA Contamination Update – August 15, 2016

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PFOA Contamination Response: Community Updates
Week of August 15, 2016
You are receiving this e-mail because you have requested to be updated on Vermont’s PFOA response efforts, or because your well was recently sampled. If you wish to stop receiving these updates, you may unsubscribe at any time using the link at the bottom of this e-mail. 

 NOTE: Because the news pace has slowed down, we will now be sending community updates

every other week. 

 Thank you.

After sampling over 500 wells, DEC staff Richard Spiese and John Schmeltzer have become familiar figures in North Bennington. Another familiar face some residents may be starting to recognize is that of Jon Kim, a State geologist with the DEC. Kim has been working in the Bennington area with three student interns from Bennington College, Middlebury College, and the University of Vermont. Together, they are using science and mapping technologies to start identifying how underlying geologic features and drilled well infrastructures play a role in how PFOA has traveled underground in the past decades.

Next week, Kim will be meeting with U.S. Geologic Survey scientists to scope out a project focused on using natural chemical tracers to essentially “date” how long ago existing groundwater supplies took to work its way down from the surface.

Please welcome Jon Kim and his student pros if you see them working in town!

North Bennington & Bennington Update
Sampling your own well? Lab recommendations for you —

Several residents living outside of the area of concern have proceeded with testing private well water for perfluorinated compounds (PFOA, PFOS, etc.). Although we have a national list of labs that test for PFCs posted on the DEC website, we have heard from residents using this list that not all labs will accept individual water samples. Apologies for any frustration this may have caused—we are learning! Below is the name of one lab on the list that has accepted samples from Bennington area residents:

  • South Central Connecticut Regional Water Authority
    90 Sargent Drive. New Haven, CT 06511
    (203) 562-4020 | www.rwater.com

If you have had success using another lab, please let DEC know! We will spread the word.

Property values after an environmental pollution event — A major concern of local residents recently is potential impact of PFOA contamination on property values in the area. While there is no simple answer to this concern, DEC staff are committed to sharing any resources or studies found related to the issue.

A U.S. EPA sponsored paper released this year (March 2016) looked at 17 high-profile chemical pollution cases in the U.S. and the impacts on property values in nearby areas. The results suggest that on average, house values depreciated 3% to 6% after the discovery of a contamination issue, but appreciated by the same rate  (3% to 6%) after a clean-up and remediation effort took place. The average effects on property value diminished with distance from the site of contamination.

Updated PFOA Sampling Results — A total of 524 wells have been sampled to date. 259 wells contain PFOA in concentrations above 20 parts per trillion. 71 wells are below 20 parts per trillion, and 194 wells are non-detect.  An updated summary of these testing results will be available on the website next week.

Pownal Update
None this week.
Shaftsbury Update
Private well testing update — Sampling of the residential supply wells within the area of interest occurred between August 8-10th and have been submitted for laboratory analysis.  Results are expected within the next few weeks and homeowners will be contacted with their results as soon as possible.  Sample results will also be posted online when available.
Information Resources Available
For general PFOA questions and concerns:
Call 802-828-1138.
Visit: Vermont DEC PFOA Response Page

For questions about potential health effects of PFOA:
Call the Vermont Department of Health toll-free at 800-439-8550.
Visit: Vermont Department Health PFOA Page

You may also reply to this e-mail with general questions.