North Bennington well tests return with results 14 points and more above state level

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NORTH BENNINGTON — Results read higher than the state's determined acceptable level after the first round of well water tests close to the Chemfab plant in North Bennington were received late Friday.

Out of the 34 results, 29 showed levels of Perfluorooctanoic acid or PFOA ranging from 38 to 2,270 parts per trillion (ppt) according to an update from Governor Peter Shumlin on Saturday. The maximum level deemed by the Vermont Department of Health is 20 ppt in drinking water. So far, 185 wells have been tested in the 1.5 mile radius of the plant.

There will be a community meeting on March 16 at 6 p.m. at the Village School of North Bennington at 9 School St. to review results and answer questions.

On Saturday morning, The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) went door to door to notify residents of test results as well as answered questions and coordinate the installation of water treatment systems. In addition, the Health Department is reaching out to residents by phone whose wells are contaminated with PFOA.

Residents are urged to get bottled water at the Village Variety Store at 9 Route 67 West and they'll also be delivered to impacted homes. There are also two water stations that are safe to use in the parking lot across from the former Chemfab plant at the intersection of Water St. and Route 67a. At the same time, Point of Entry Treatment systems are being offered to those affected.

An information center will be available from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on the weekends at the Health Department offices at 324 Main St. to answer questions.

Lakes, rivers and streams in North Bennington and Bennington are being sampled by DEC scientists including the Walloomsac River, Paran Creek and Lake Paran as well as the Bennington College Campus Pong, Paran Creen onsite pond and Hamon Road Pond. Those results are expected to return in two to three weeks while the qualified laboratories are working at full capacity. Furthermore, results will determine the levels of contamination in fish with a partnership with the Department of Fish and Wildlife.

—Makayla-Courtney McGeeney can be reached at (802)-447-7567, ext. 118.


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