PFOAS: June 29 meeting on water lines, testing and more


BENNINGTON >> An upcoming meeting on PFOA will focus on water line extensions, well testing and blood clinics.

The meeting will be held on June 29 at 5:30 p.m. at Bennington College's Center for the Advancement of Public Action (CAPA) Symposium.

Officials say they're looking for feedback on engineering reports to extend public water in the town and village.

Bringing public water to Bennington and North Bennington residences and businesses with PFOA contaminated water supplies will cost an estimated $17 million, or $13.7 million and $3.2 million, respectively, according to two engineering reports under state review.

A June 3 decision by the Agency of Natural Resources determined the project does not require an Act 250 land use permit.

In the town, the project would involve about 50,000 feet, or 9.5 miles, of new water lines. In the village, about 14,000 feet, or 2.6 miles, according to information submitted to ANR. A request by an attorney for Otter Creek Engineering for a jurisdictional hearing states the project does not involve any expansion of the water systems.

It's still unclear who would pay for the upgrades — neither the state, the company believed to be responsible for the contamination, nor the municipalities have committed to them.

In both Vermont and New York, environmental and health agencies are still addressing the PFOA issue. In Vermont, PFOA has been found in wells around the former ChemFab/Saint-Gobain site, and in some private wells and a public water system in Pownal, near the Warren Wire No. 1 Plant on Route 346. In New York, wells and public water systems in Hoosick and Petersburg wells have been affected.

Companies deemed either responsible or potentially responsible are providing bottled water. Both states are looking at finding other water supply sources for municipalities.

In Hoosick, town and village of Hoosick Falls officials voted to split a $46,000 feasibility study to look at extending the public water line up to three miles south on state Route 22 to the intersection of NY Route 7. It would connect homes, businesses, the central school campus and the Hoosac School.

PFOA, or perfluorooctanoic acid, was found in the Hoosick Falls public water supply in the summer of 2014. That December, Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics The EPA issued a no-drink order in November.

The man-made chemical was once used as a key processing agent during the manufacturing of Teflon, the non-stick, water and grease repelling coating used for everything from cookware to wire insulation and fabrics.

Saint-Gobain agreed to reimburse the state for a granulated activated carbon filtration (GAC) system at the village's treatment plant. Since a temporary system went online this winter, repeated testing found it has been removing PFOA. A sample of untreated water shows a PFOA level of 448 parts per trillion (ppt), according to a June 2 letter from the DOH. PFOA wasn't detected in treated water.

In Bennington and North Bennington, PFOA in levels above 20 ppt were found in 227 of 432 private wells. In Pownal, elevated levels were found in five of 100 private wells.

In the Hoosick area, New York DEC has tested 1,006 private wells, according to the most recent information. A total of 765 point of entry (POET) filtration systems have been installed at homes and businesses; 652 have been tested for effectivness and are online.

In Petersburg, Rensselaer County, working with DOH and DEC, have sampled 247 private homes' wells. Of those, 46 samples were below 20 ppt; 28 were between 21 ppt and 70 ppt; 45 between 71 ppt and 1,000 ppt; 15 over 1,001 ppt. PFOA was not detected in 113 samples.

Contact Edward Damon at 413-770-6979


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