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PFOA Contamination Update

Work continues to evaluate the level and extent of PFOA contamination in water and soils, and potential related health concerns, in Bennington, North Bennington, and Pownal. The contamination is believed to be linked to former industrial operations at locations in North Bennington and Pownal.

Engineering studies to determine the feasibility and costs of expanding municipal water supply infrastructure to residents impacted by PFOA in Bennington and North Bennington have been initiated. Saint-Gobain—owner of the former Chemfab facility in North Bennington—is paying for drinking water sampling of more than 300 private wells in the areas of concern in Bennington and North Bennington, including new sampling areas near former Bennington landfill on Houghton Lane. As a short-term solution, Saint-Gobain also has agreed to pay for bottled water supplies and installation of point-of-entry treatment systems for homes with wells containing PFOA.

Additionally, more than 100 soil samples were collected from locations surrounding the former Chemfab facility in North Bennington to determine if soil contamination exists in that area. Preliminary results show PFOA levels ranging from non-detect to 45 parts per billion in the tested soils.

The potentially-responsible party for the former Warren Wire manufacturing facility in Pownal, APU, has agreed to cover costs related to releases from that facility, including costs for drinking water sampling, bottled water, and a filtration system for the impacted municipal water supply (Fire District #2), and point-of-entry water filtration systems on private wells impacted by PFOA.

PFOA (“perfluorooctanoaic acid”) is a manufactured chemical used to make household and commercial products that resist heat and chemical reactions, and repel oil, stains, grease, and water. These chemicals are widely found in nonstick cookware, stain-resistant carpets and fabrics, water repellant clothing, paper and cardboard food packaging, and fire-fighting foam. PFOA does not break down easily and therefore persists for a very long time in the environment, especially in water. Its toxicity and persistence in the environment means it is a potential danger to human health and the environment.