Shaftsbury wells test clean for PFOA

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SHAFTSBURY >> None of the 24 wells within a quarter-mile of the Shaftsbury landfill tested above the advisory limit for PFOA, the select board announced on Thursday.

The announcement came as part of a special meeting, about a month after the state announced it would be testing the wells. The state first discovered the chemical, perfluorooctanoic acid, at the closed landfill site in late July, in a concentration of 25 parts per trillion, just over the state's advisory limit of 20 parts per trillion, after asking the town to test the site in June. The Environmental Protection Agency has released an advisory limit of 70 parts per trillion. The town had been providing bottled water for potentially affected residents while the tests were being run.

Select Board Chairman Tim Scoggins said that most of the wells showed no PFOA whatsoever, and the handful in which it was detected were all below the 20 ppt limit. He said the state has not yet formulated the next steps, and if there will be further testing.

"That's really good news for everybody," he said, "We're glad that nobody has to worry about their water any further in that regard."

Scoggins said that between the testing and the bottled water, the town had already spent $27,000. Because the source of the contamination, the landfill, is owned by the town, the town of Shaftsbury was declared the responsible party, and is financially responsible for any costs associated with the cleanup. There is no indication how PFOA ended up in the landfill.

"I think we need to maintain the fact that it's not our problem, it should be the state's problem for setting their levels too low," said board member Ken Harrington, "We're the only one in the country that's got that standard. This could get real expensive, real fast if they maintain that we have to keep testing or anything else."

"Everything in that landfill was done according to state regulations," Harrington said, when the state first announced that Shaftsbury was considered the responsible party, "In my mind, that would make the state liable, not us."

Contact Derek Carson at 802-447-7567, ext. 122.


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