Notice: State Retests Bennington Water… Still PFOA Free



Week of April 11, 2016

Bennington Municipal Water Supply re-tested clean — DEC re-tested the Bennington municipal water supply in March for concentrations of PFOA to follow-up with residents concerns. The results returned this week indicate no PFOA was detected in the system, which is in line with results from a 2013 sampling event conducted by EPA.

State Press Release: PFOA blood tests offered to people in North Bennington and Bennington


PFOA blood tests offered to people in North Bennington and Bennington
Blood draw clinics set for April and May at the Health Dept. District Office in Bennington
For Immediate Release: April 11, 2016


BURLINGTON – The Vermont Department of Health, with support from Southwestern Vermont Medical Center, is offering PFOA blood draw clinics as part of the State of Vermont’s response to PFOA contamination of drinking water wells in North Bennington and Bennington. The clinic dates are set for late April through mid-May.

Private drinking water wells in the area around the former Chemfab/Saint-Gobain have had detections of PFOA ranging from non-detect to nearly 3,000 parts per trillion, well above Vermont’s advisory level of 20 parts per trillion for drinking water.

The blood tests will measure the level of PFOA in an individual’s blood, and this can be compared to levels measured by CDC’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) for adults and older children in the U.S. Most adults have low levels of PFOA in their blood.

“We understand why people want to have their blood tested, and this is a service we can provide,” said Health Commissioner Harry Chen, MD. “The higher the concentration of PFOA in drinking water, the higher the level of PFOA will likely be in your blood. The test cannot tell if your exposure to PFOA will cause health problems for you in the future, or if a health problem you have was caused by PFOA, but it may help inform discussions about your health between you and your doctor.”

Eligibility – A person is eligible for the blood test if:

  1. The Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation tested the well of the home in North Bennington/Bennington where you live now, or where you lived any time in the past eight years. – and/or –
  2. You worked or lived at the former Chemfab/Saint-Gobain site at 940/1030 Water Street in North Bennington, or you work or live there now.

Registration and Scheduling – To begin the registration process, complete the online survey by April 30 at:

The Health Department will then contact eligible participants to schedule appointments. Before having blood drawn at the scheduled appointment, a health and exposure questionnaire must be completed for each participant regarding age, water consumption patterns, diet and exercise, work history, health and medical history.

Clinic Dates – Blood draw clinics for eligible people are by appointment only. The clinics will be held at the Health Department district office in Bennington starting in late April and continuing through mid-May: Friday, April 29; Saturday, April 30; Wednesday, May 4; Thursday, May 5; Wednesday, May 11; and Thursday, May 12.

There will be no cost to participants for the blood draw and laboratory analysis.

Reporting – After the clinics are completed, it will be several months for the results to be analyzed and reported back to individuals.

Southwestern Vermont Medical Center is arranging for volunteers to assist with drawing blood and providing medical waste management. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention/Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry is providing technical assistance and laboratory analysis of blood samples.

It takes about two to four years for PFOA blood levels to reduce by half, and there is no medical treatment or intervention that can remove PFOA from the blood.

The most important action to protect health is to remove the exposure, and the State has been working to provide bottled water and install in-home filtration systems as the short-term solution for affected residents.

For more information about the PFOA blood test clinics:

For more information about PFOA and health concerns:, or call the Health Department at 800-439-8550 weekdays 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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State Update: State-DEC Community Meeting for PFOA, April 18th, @ Bennington College


The Department of Environment Conservation will hold a community meeting in Bennington, April 18, 2016 at 6 p.m. in the Greenwall Auditorium of Bennington College’s Visual & Performing Arts Center (1 college drive, Bennington, VT).

The department has asked residents in the expanded sampling area to sign up for testing of residential wells at Residents whose wells are being tested can pick up free bottled water at the North Bennington Variety Store at 49 Route 67 West in North Bennington.

State Update: Expanded Water Testing for Bennington and North Bennington (4/7/16)


April 7, 2016

Gov. Shumlin Releases Testing Results for North Bennington

MONTPELIER – Gov. Peter Shumlin provided the following update on results from an additional 50 private well samples collected last week in North Bennington.

Twenty-two samples showed non-detect results, and 19 samples showed concentrations of PFOA over the Vermont Health Department advisory limit of 20 parts per trillion (ppt), ranging from 22ppt to 471ppt. The remaining nine results were below 20ppt. Five monitoring wells surrounding Bennington Landfill were also tested and showed PFOA levels ranging from 18ppt to 140ppt.

Given these results, the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will expand testing to 150 private drinking wells in two areas as it works to determine the extent of the contamination. Next week, samples will be collected around the Bennington Landfill and south to Rt. 9 between the airport and Old Bennington. DEC will also conduct a series of “spot checks” outside of the testing area on Corey Lane, Whipstock Rd, Airport Rd, along 7A, and in the Shaftsbury area near Cold Spring Road.

DEC is reaching out to Vermonters in the expanded sampling areas. Those residents can sign up for testing at: Residents who wish to use bottled water while testing results are pending can pick it up at the North Bennington Variety Store located at 49 Route 67 West, North Bennington.

A community meeting will be held in Bennington on April 18th at 6pm at Bennington College’s Greenwall Auditorium in the Visual & Performing Arts Center. Residents can call 2-1-1 with questions.

To date, 232 total water supplies have been sampled in North Bennington, with 126 having PFOA above 20ppt and 86 not showing any PFOA.


State Update: Next Steps In PFOA Response


April 6, 2016

Gov. Shumlin Outlines Next Steps on PFOA Response

MONTPELIER – Gov. Peter Shumlin today provided an update on the State’s response to the detection of the chemical PFOA in southern Vermont and provided information on additional testing that will be conducted around the state. These additional tests are not a result of specific concerns for drinking water safety. Rather, they are being conducted at sites where the State believes PFOA may have been used in certain manufacturing processes.

PFOA, a possible carcinogen, was used in the making of Teflon, wire coatings, and non-stick fabrics and surfaces and has been phased out of production. Because the chemical was unregulated by the federal government, there are no State records confirming its use in various industries.

Despite this, State officials have been working in recent weeks to determine where the chemical may have been used in the past, and have identified the wire coating industry, semi-conductor industry, and locations where fire-fighting foam was used repeatedly as places that should be tested for elevated levels of PFOA.

The State will ensure testing in the vicinity of 11 sites around the state, including IBM (Essex), Phoenix Wire (South Hero), Champlain Cable (Colchester), Harbour Industries and unaffiliated former Harbour Industries sites (Shelburne, Colchester), SuperTemp (South Burlington, Winooski), Belden Wire & Cable (Essex, Williston), Pittsford Fire Academy, and National Guard Air Force Base.

Samples will be taken at or near the facilities to determine if further tests are necessary. Sampling will begin next week and will continue for three to four weeks in different locations.

The detection of PFOA in drinking water sources is a national issue. Regionally, both New York and New Hampshire have detected PFOA in municipal drinking sources. Vermont is being proactive in determining where else PFOA may have been used. Given that Vermont does not have a long history of heavy manufacturing and the State’s environmental standards are some of the strictest in the nation, it is not believed there is widespread contamination around the state.

In fact since 2013, 13 municipal drinking water systems around the state, including some of the largest municipal systems, have been tested. In none of those tests was PFOA detected. Sources tested include: Bennington, Barre City, Brattleboro, Burlington, Jay Peak Basin Complex, Lyndonville, Rutland City, Shaftsbury/North Bennington, South Burlington, Winhall Stratton Fire District 1, Arlington, Pittsford, and Saint Johnsbury.


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.


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.


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.