Shaftsbury to offer bottled water, public meeting scheduled for Monday after PFOA found in old landfill
Editor's note: This article was updated on July 22, 2016 at 1:40 p.m. to reflect that the town will pay to test private wells and provide bottled water for residents who live within a quarter mile of the capped landfill. A previous headline incorrectly stated that those costs would be covered by the state.
SHAFTSBURY — Residents served by private wells who live near the old landfill will be able to pick up bottled drinking water at the town clerk's office starting Friday.
Gov. Peter Shumlin announced on Wednesday that environmental officials will contact residents about testing private wells within a quarter mile radius of the capped landfill on North Road, where recent tests found the potentially harmful chemical PFOA.
State environmental and public health officials will attend the next Select Board meeting to answer questions. The meeting will be held on Monday, July 25, 6:30 p.m. at Cole Hall, according to an announcement from the state Department of Environmental Conservation.
Private well owners within a quarter-mile of the landfill on North Road can pick up cases of bottled water at the town clerk's office between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. Residents who need other arrangements or have questions about pick-ups are being told to call the town at 802-442-4038 ext. 3.
The area of concern includes homes along North Road; Reddy Road; the end of Bahan Road; and the section of Airport Road between street junctions with North and Simeon Dean Roads.
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.
The municipal water system that serves Shaftsbury and North Bennington is not affected, officials say, and is safe to drink.
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, classified by the federal EPA as an "emerging contaminant," was used at factories for decades to make the nonstick coating Teflon. Studies have linked it to cancer and other diseases.
The DEC asked Shaftsbury officials to test the landfill for PFOA 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.
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.
Residents are being told to direct 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.
TALK TO US
If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.