Shumlin: Saint-Gobain will fund bottled water, treatment systems for private wells

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NORTH BENNINGTON >> The company that owned and operated the former ChemFab plant at the time it closed will pay for treatment systems on each water supply contaminated with a man-made chemical.

The Saint-Gobain Corporation will also pay for bottled water for anyone affected, in addition to the tests on private wells, Gov. Peter Shumlin's office announced Tuesday.

The state has set up an emergency operations center at the state Department of Health offices at 324 Main St. Residents can sign up to receive bottled water and well tests, look at sampling maps, get health information and ask questions.

Staff with the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) were expected to start visiting homes Tuesday to take water samples that will be tested for PFOA, a potentially harmful chemical once used to make Teflon.

Residents can pick up bottled water at the Village Variety Store, 9 Route 67, North Bennington, or draw from two water tanks. The town announced Tuesday that the water tanks were moved from a previous location to the intersection of River Road and Route 67.

The state announced last week that PFOA was found in water samples taken in the village of North Bennington. Since then, all private well owners within 1.5 miles of the former ChemFab facility at 1030 Water St. are being told not to drink or cook with their water.

Saint-Gobain took over ChemFab in 2000 and operated the plant until it closed in 2002.

The company has agreed to "initiate, install, maintain, and sample Point of Entry Treatment systems (POETs) on each impacted water supply," the governor's office announced Tuesday.

The state says it will test 80 to 100 homes within a 1.5 mile radius, starting with those closet to the plant. Staff are expected to go door-to-door through Friday or longer if necessary.

PFOA has also been found in Hoosick Falls and Petersburgh, N.Y.

Vermont has launched two websites:

http://www.anr.state.vt.us/dec/dec.htm and http://healthvermont.gov/enviro/pfoa.aspx

If you live within the area of concern and need your private well tested, call the director of the Waste Management and Prevention Division of the Department of Environmental Conservation at 802-828-1138, or email chuck.schwer@vermont.gov. For an interactive map of the 1.5 mile radius around ChemFab, visit http://bit.ly/1QQBPBn (the link is case sensitive.)

Contact Edward Damon at 413-770-6979


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