More PFOA found near Bennington Landfill

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BENNINGTON >> PFOA has turned up in more water, this time in private wells near the former Bennington Landfill.

Officials say private well owners south of the landfill should sign up to have their well tested by the state. And the state Department of Health has extended the date for when residents can sign up to have their blood tested for the potentially harmful chemical through May 31, according to a community update released Tuesday by Gov. Peter Shumlin's office.

The majority of the results announced Tuesday were from the wells of private homes located between the former landfill, a Superfund site off of Houghton Lane, and Route 279.

Of the 40 wells tested, 34 had PFOA levels above the state's enforcement level of 20 parts per trillion (ppt). The highest level found was 201 ppt.

Three wells in the latest round of testing had levels below 20 ppt. In another three wells, PFOA was not detected.

The results announced Tuesday followed numerous others since PFOA, or perfluorooctanoic acid, was found earlier this year.

The state's Department of Environmental Conservation began testing water for PFOA in February over concerns of past activity at the former ChemFab/Saint-Gobain facility at 1030 Water Street in the village of North Bennington. The chemical, which was used for years when making Teflon and has been linked to cancer and other diseases, turned up in homes' private wells and in surface water.

Water filtration systems have since been installed at over 100 homes and the state says early tests indicate they're effective at removing the chemical. The Saint-Gobain Corporation, which the DEC identified as the potentially responsible party, says it will reimburse the state for the cost of filters and bottled water.

Neither the Bennington nor North Bennington municipal water systems contain PFOA. State officials have said they want the French multinational company to pay to extend municipal water lines to any homes with contaminated private wells; those talks are ongoing.

Water samples taken last month from five monitoring wells at the Bennington Landfill showed levels between 18 ppt and 140 ppt.

Private well owners located south of the landfill and within the testing area are encouraged to sign up to have their well tested using the online form: http://dec.vermont.gov/commissioners-office/pfoa.

North Bennington or Bennington residents who have had their private wells tested by the DEC are eligible for PFOA blood draw clinics, health officials say. To begin the registration process, complete the online survey by May 31 at: http://survey.healthvermont.gov/s3/PFOA-Blood-Draw-Registration.

For more information about PFOA and health concerns, call 211; the state DOH at 800-439-8550 weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; or visit

http://www.healthvermont.gov/enviro/pfoa.aspx.

Edward Damon at 413-770-6979


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