State may take additional tests after PFOA found on Northside Drive

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BENNINGTON>> A potentially harmful chemical found near the old ChemFab plant in North Bennington has been found near the defunct company's original home on Northside Drive.

Testing of a private well near 108 Northside Drive found levels of PFOA, or perfluorooctanoic acid, above the state's acceptable levels, according to an announcement from Gov. Peter Shumlin's office issued Monday afternoon.

The state says one family is affected, has been notified and will have bottled water delivered to their home.

"[The Department of Environmental Conservation] is working with Bennington officials to review well data to determine if there is any other well sampling that needs to be done in the immediate area in the immediate future," the announcement stated.

Neither the village or town municipal systems contain PFOA. The majority of residences and businesses along and near Northside Drive [Route 7A] are on public water. In addition, a municipal hookup is available to the affected residence on Northside Drive.

The state's acceptable level is 20 parts per trillion (ppt). The well on Northside Drive had levels between 20 ppt and 100 ppt, the announcement said.

PFOA, a man-made chemical used to make Teflon for years, was found near ChemFab's plant in North Bennington. Residents with private wells are being told to cease drinking or cooking with their tap water.

ChemFab began at the Northside Drive site, a former car dealership, in the late 1960s before it eventually moved to North Bennington. The Saint-Gobain Corporation bought ChemFab and its holdings in 2000 and in 2002, closed the factory and moved operations to Merrimack, N.H.

Environmental investigators say they will make responsible parties pay for a clean up, but have not identified official pollution sources. The state has tested wells, rivers, lakes and streams and has tested soil. Saint-Gobain is paying for bottled water, home filtration systems, and water and soil testing.

In addition to the village and town, PFOA has also been found in the Hoosick, Hoosick Falls and Petersburgh, N.Y. Vermont is also testing water in Pownal over concerns about the former Warren Wire facility on Route 346, now a warehouse for Mack Molding.

Contact Edward Damon at 413-770-6979


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