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

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.