12/07/16 State of Vermont – PFOA Update for Bennington, No. Bennington, and Pownal

North Bennington & Bennington Update

Final design phase work now taking place in Bennington and North Bennington — 

Last week, Governor Peter Shumlin announced that the first phase in final design for water line extensions to PFOA-impacted drinking water wells in North Bennington and Bennington has begun. Contracts to begin the final design process were signed with Otter Creek Engineering and MSK Engineering & Design. The firms will analyze and estimate all expenses and logistics associated with a preliminary layout for municipal line extensions. This phase of final design work includes fly-overs to conduct aerial imagery, historic preservation assessment, assessing environmental conditions, and evaluating potential water quality impacts.

The costs associated with the first phase of final design are estimated at $444,000 and will be paid for by the State of Vermont. Negotiations with Saint-Gobain, the potentially responsible party, continue.

To view the full press release, go to the Governor’s Newsroom. 

Maintenance Manual for POET Testing In Development: Point-of-entry treatment (POET) system sampling being performed by Saint-Gobain’s contractor, CT Male, is continuing until all POETs have been sampled three times to prove that they are working correctly. Once these sampling events have been completed, future sampling will be performed in accordance with a POET Operations & Maintenance (O&M) Manual being completed by CT Male. The State has received and commented on the Draft Manual. Once these comments have been addressed in a final POET O&M Manual, the final document will be posted on the DEC web page. A link for this document will be provided in a future community update when available.

Testing of Groundwater Monitoring Wells Continues at Other Closed Landfills
Monitoring wells at other closed landfills tested for perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) — 

Since September, the DEC has requested for seven closed landfills in Bennington and Windham counties to test for PFCs within groundwater on the landfill properties. They are:

  • Burgess Brothers Landfill* (Bennington)
  • Putney Paper Landfill* (Putney)
  • Sunderland Landfill* (Sunderland)
  • Halifax Landfill
  • Pownal Landfill
  • Dover Landfill
  • Windham Solid Waste District Landfill (Brattleboro)

*privately owned

Three landfills in Bennington county have already been tested for PFCs because of their proximity to the former Chemfab facility in Bennington (Shaftsbury Landfill, Bennington Landfill, and Kocher Drive Dump). In the interest of assessing possible impacts from PFCs at other landfills in the State, the DEC expanded sampling to the rest of Bennington county and Windham county, bringing the total number of closed landfills tested to date to ten (10).

Testing results received to date show the combined sum of PFOA and PFOS was found above 20 parts per trillion–the Vermont health advisory level for drinking water–at three of the seven closed landfills recently tested. Halifax Municipal landfill and the closed landfill at Putney Paper contained low concentrations of PFOA/PFOS combined at 29 and 28 parts per trillion, respectively. The Burgess Brothers landfill in Bennington had a maximum combined groundwater concentration of 1,040 parts per trillion.

Results from Windham Solid Waste District landfill are still pending.

No drinking water wells were found at immediate risk of contamination. Precautionary follow-up testing of several nearby private wells nearby in Halifax, Putney, and Bennington will take place. The Department has been in direct contact with the individuals that own these wells.

Pownal Update
Private Well Testing for PFOA Continues in:

Pownal Center

In August 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) installed five groundwater monitoring wells and three soil borings at the former Warren Wire Plant #3 facility located on Center Street in Pownal, VT.  On August 23, 2016 EPA collected groundwater, soil and surface water for perfluorinated compound (PFC) analyses. Testing results from this sampling event indicated:

  • Groundwater monitoring wells: PFOA was present in groundwater at concentrations that ranged from 4.5 to 320 parts per trillion.
  • Surface water: PFOA was detected in surface water samples at concentrations that ranging from 2.8 to 22 parts per trillion.
  • Soils: PFOA was non-detect in all three soil samples.

EPA will conduct residential drinking water samples at 20 select locations near Center Street in January, due to a backlog of samples at the EPA lab. Four residential wells already tested very near the plant were non-detect for perfluorinated compounds like PFOA and PFOS.  Most drinking water wells are deep bedrock wells, which appear to show less risk for PFOA/PFOS contamination.

North Pownal (near former Pownal Tannery)

The DEC has sampled drinking water wells 40 additional residences in the North Pownal area. Three results received on November 28 showed combined concentrations of PFOA and PFOS that were over the 20 parts per trillion Vermont health advisory limit. The remaining 37 results are expected this week. Bottled water and point-of-entry treatment systems (POETs) are to be provided for impacted residents. So far, the DEC has funded the installation of 10 POETs and have provided bottled water to residences impacted in this area. There has not been an identified potentially responsible party in this area.

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