SHAFTSBURY >> The state will provide bottled water and test private wells after the potentially harmful chemical PFOA was found at the town's old landfill.
Private well owners within a quarter-mile of the capped landfill on North Road will be given bottled water for drinking and cooking, according to an announcement made Wednesday afternoon by Gov. Peter Shumlin's office.
State environmental officials are seeking a water pick-up location for residents and plan to announce it on Thursday.
About 15 private wells are estimated to be within the area of concern. Residents will be contacted about having their wells tested by state officials.
Samples recently taken from a groundwater monitoring well at the landfill had PFOA levels of 25 parts per trillion (ppt). The state's limit for drinking water is 20 ppt. Additional monitoring wells at the landfill will be tested within the next several weeks, according to the governor's office.
The municipal water system that serves Shaftsbury and North Bennington is not affected, officials say, and is safe to drink.
Residents are being told to contact the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) at 802-828-1138 if their well is located within a quarter mile of the landfill and they have not heard from agency by Friday.
Elevated levels of PFOA, or perfluorooctanoic acid, were previously found in private wells around North Bennington, a municipal water system in Pownal, and near Bennington's former landfill off Houghton Lane. In New York, it's been found in Hoosick and Petersburgh. The man-made chemical was used for decades to make the nonstick coating Teflon. Studies have linked it to cancer and other diseases.
The DEC asked the town to test the landfill last month based on residents' concerns and the site's proximity to the former ChemFab/Saint-Gobain's plant on Water Street in North Bennington. DEC officials suspect that facility is a contamination source.
Saint-Gobain is paying for bottled water and filtration systems on impacted homes around North Bennington; American Premier Underwriters, a successor to Warren Wire/General Cable, is doing that in Pownal.
The town operated the landfill on North Road from 1967 until it was capped in 2006. It still owns the five-acre property and is responsible for the post-closure maintenance plan.
The announcement directs residents' questions about PFOA and well testing to the DEC at 802-828-1138.
Residents with health-related questions should call the state Department of Health at 800-439-8550.
— Contact Ed Damon at 802-447-7567, ext. 111.