POWNAL>> PFOA, a potentially harmful chemical, has been found in a local public water supply, but state officials say it's unlikely the contamination is widespread.

Samples taken from the Pownal Fire District No. 2 municipal water system had PFOA levels slightly higher than the state's acceptable levels, according to an announcement from Gov. Peter Shumlin's office on Thursday.

The state's Department of Health set an "advisory level" of 20 parts per trillion (ppt), representative of what is considered a safe amount for infants. Three water samples collected from the water system in Pownal had 26 and 27 parts per trillion (ppt) of PFOA.

Residents will be provided bottled water starting Friday. Officials are fine tuning "logistical details" and "working to determine the best way to address the low levels of PFOA in the drinking water," the announcement stated.

PFOA, or perfluorooctanoic acid, has been found in private wells in the North Bennington, as well as Hoosick and Petersburgh, N.Y. The man-made chemical was used to make Teflon for years and studies have found it causes cancer and other diseases.

"Given the low levels of PFOA present in the results received today, it is not likely the contamination is more widespread in Pownal," a press release from the governor's office stated. "However, DEC officials will collect additional water and soil samples in the area in the coming days."


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The public water system serves close to 450 homes in the village of Pownal.

Residents requested testing from the Department of Environmental Conservation over concerns of the former Warren Wire plant on Route 346. Now a vacant warehouse owned by Mack Molding, the 123,000 squarefoot facility lies about 1,000 feet from water the system's pump and well head.

Contact Edward Damon at 413-770-6979