Vermont, New York officials still need to add up PFOA costs


BENNINGTON >> State officials in Vermont and New York still need to add up how much money they will request from companies believed to be responsible for PFOA contamination.

Vermont officials have only added up the first month worth of costs from dealing with contamination around North Bennington. In New York, officials have not yet added up any costs for Hoosick Falls or Petersburgh.

Officials in both states say companies believed to be the contamination source are being billed and are directly paying for water filters, well tests and bottled water.


Vermont has asked Saint-Gobain reimburse five state agencies $221,630.25 for costs incurred between Feb. 25 and March 31. The most was $168,167 for the state's Department of Environmental Conservation, the lead agency responding to PFOA contamination. Of that amount, $104,479 was for 2,090 hours of staff time and $63,687.96 for operating and indirect costs.

The state requested $14,344.97 from American Premier Underwriters (APU), the company potentially responsible for contamination in Pownal, for water deliveries WB Mason made in that town from March 29 to Aug. 3. The state has not requested staff time reimbursement from APU.

Saint-Gobain was sent an invoice of $214,438.23 for the first phase of an environmental study at its former Water Street in North Bennington, also known for years as ChemFab.

The Banner received the records after it filed a request under the Vermont Public Records Law.

"Cost recovery for the response efforts in Bennington and Pownal is being worked out slowly but surely," said Danika Frisbie, public information coordinator for the DEC's contamination response.

Costs incurred by state agencies since April 1 have not been added up. DEC officials did not say when they would be.

Gov. Peter Shumlin announced on Feb. 25 that PFOA, or perfluorooctanoic acid, was found around North Bennington.

Invoices obtained by the Banner show Saint-Gobain has since been billed for home filters and well tests, and bottled water. But it's unclear how much they've been billed to date.

Saint-Gobain is "unable to comment on the costs of active projects," a company spokesperson said Friday.

"In many instances, we sent letters to Saint-Gobain or APU directing them to perform certain activities as a part of the response or to pay for certain services that we were performing," Matt Chapman, general counsel for DEC. That includes installing filters on homes with private wells with PFOA levels above 20 ppt, the state's drinking water health advisory level.

Invoices released by the state do show some costs: It costs $252 for each sample to be tested at Northern Lake Service, Inc. in Crandon, WI.

In Bennington, 483 wells were tested and 249 had PFOA levels above the advisory.

Across state lines in New York, officials haven't added up the cost of PFOA in Hoosick Falls or Petersburgh.

New York

"As the state's response has been multi-faceted and remains ongoing, we have not yet determined all costs associated with our actions to date," Kevin Frazier, a spokesman for DEC in New York, said in a statement.

Saint-Gobain paid $375,000 for a "temporary" filter in Hoosick Falls. Installation of a larger, long-term filter will cost $2.5 million. That company and Honeywell both signed consent orders for Hoosick Falls in June.

Taconic Plastics in Petersburgh has not signed a consent order, but has agreed to fund bottled water and filters on homes and a municipal water system in that town.

"Through legally binding consent orders signed with Saint-Gobain and Honeywell, New York State will seek to hold the responsible parties accountable for all costs associated with comprehensive cleanup of the contamination in the Hoosick Falls area," Frazier said.

Other costs from Vermont agencies

Other agencies and requested reimbursements are as follows:

Department of Health: $22,557 for 408.5 hours of staff time, and $20,094 for indirect and operating costs

Department of Public Safety: $4,072 for 152 hours of staff time

Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets: $4,619.85 for 94.75 hours

Agency of Natural Resources Central Office: $2,118 for 36 hours

Contact Ed Damon at 802-447-7567, ext. 111.


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