Update #4: DEC Efforts from DEC Commissioner Schuren

Dear area residents,

Below are a few updates.

Water testing. DEC employees continue to go door to door sampling private drinking water wells within a 1.5 mile radius around the former Chemfab facility. 92 wells have been sampled since Tuesday morning. The number of wells expected to be sampled has increased to approximately 150. 

Bottled Water Offered Beyond 1.5 Mile Radius. In response to requests from residents outside the 1.5 mile testing radius, DEC has made bottled water more widely available. While the community waits for the results of the water tests, bottled water will be available to concerned residents at the North Bennington Variety Store. Those within the 1.5 mile radius can also sign up to have water delivered to their homes.

Emergency Operations Center. The Emergency Operations Center will now be open through Friday at 4pm. The Center is located at 324 Main Street in Bennington.  There you will find additional information, can get questions answered, sign up for water testing and look at the map of the 1.5 mile radius.

 

Alyssa B. Schuren
Commissioner
Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation
One National Life Drive – Main 2
Montpelier, VT 05620-3520
802-828-1556
http://www.anr.state.vt.us/dec/dec.htm

Press Release: State Update #3 – North Bennington Water Contamination

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 1, 2016

Gov. Shumlin Provides Update on North Bennington Water Situation

MONTPELIER – Gov. Peter Shumlin provided the following update on the situation in North Bennington where a number of private wells have tested positive for a potential harmful chemical called PFOA. The public water supply is not affected.

Water testing starts today. Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) officials will start collecting water samples from the 80-100 homes within a 1.5 mile radius of the former Chem Fab facility, beginning with those closest to the plant and moving out in concentric circles. Staff will go door to door taking samples from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. It is expected that staff will continue to make home visits to collect samples through Friday, and longer, if necessary.

Emergency Operations Center Launch. An emergency operations center has been set up at the Vermont Department of Health Offices at 324 Main Street in Bennington. The operations center is meant to be a resource for residents with questions. At the Center, people can look at the sampling map, sign up for water testing, sign up for bottled water, and get health information.

Meeting with Saint Gobain. Vermont officials yesterday met with officials from Saint Gobain, the company that took over for Chem Fab and operated the plant in North Bennington until it closed. The company has agreed to pay for bottled water for affected residents and the tests being run on private wells in North Bennington. Saint Gobain has also agreed to initiate, install, maintain, and sample Point of Entry Treatment systems (POETs) on each impacted water supply.

Informational Websites. The Vermont Department of Health and the Department of Environmental Conservation have both launched websites on the North Bennington situation:

Briefing for Doctors. Health Commissioner Dr. Harry Chen will hold a briefing today for doctors in the Bennington area with general information on potential health impacts of PFOA water contamination.

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Notice: Vermont DEC Launches Water Contamination Resource Website for No. Benn – Bennington

State DEC Site

Notice: State of VT Update on No. Bennington Water Issue – 2/29/16

Update on North Bennington Situation

MONTPELIER – Gov. Peter Shumlin today provided an update on the situation in North Bennington. Test results received last Thursday indicated that while there is no contamination of the public water source, five private wells in North Bennington showed varying levels of a potentially harmful chemical called PFOA.

The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) plans to test an additional 80 to 100 private wells located in a 1.5 mile radius surrounding the former Chem Fab plant in North Bennington. Officials are still working to determine the exact cause of the contamination, but concerns in North Bennington were sparked by reports of contamination caused by a similar plant in Hoosick Falls N.Y.

Vermont DEC officials will travel door to door to collect testing samples in the coming days. The test to determine PFOA levels takes approximately two weeks.

Residents with wells being tested should not drink the water while results are pending. Bottled water will be provided and a delivery schedule will be worked out in the coming days. In the meantime, residents can pick up bottled water at the Village Variety Store located at 9 Route 67 West in North Bennington.  In addition, starting this afternoon there will be two water tanks from which residents can draw water on the corner of Scary Lane and Rt 67 and McCaters Park at the Henry Bridge.

The Health Department is committed to arranging blood tests for PFOA for people who have contaminated wells, but stresses that the number one priority is to stop the exposure and consult with your health care provider.

“If your well is contaminated, do not use the water for drinking, preparing food, cooking, or brushing teeth,” said Health Commissioner Harry Chen, MD. “We recommend that you talk with your health care provider to consider having the routine blood tests for health conditions that may be treatable now.”

The Health Department has alerted and provided guidance to health care providers in the Bennington and Rutland area. The Health Department has produced a fact sheet about PFOA and potential health impacts, which is attached to this release.

Vermont officials held a public meeting Friday in North Bennington. Officials will also be on hand this evening at 6 p.m. during Bennington’s Town Meeting.

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PFOA Health Fact Sheet