News Releases

November 22, 2016

State Design Contracts Signify Progress Towards Municipal Water for PFOA-Impacted Bennington County

Today, Gov. Peter Shumlin announced that the first phase in final design for water line extensions to PFOA-impacted drinking water wells in North Bennington and Bennington has begun. Point-of-entry filtration systems are currently installed on impacted homes, providing clean water. The costs associated with the first phase of final design are estimated at $444,000 and will be paid for by the State of Vermont. Negotiations with Saint-Gobain, the potentially responsible party, continue.

"While negotiations continue, we are not waiting to start the process of getting an acceptable long-term drinking water solution for impacted residents in Bennington County," said Gov. Shumlin. "The people of Bennington County who have been affected by this crisis have shown incredible patience and perseverance. Until a long-term solution is in place, we will continue to be there every step of the way."

Contracts to begin the final design process were signed with Otter Creek Engineering and MSK Engineering & Design. The firms will analyze and estimate all expenses and logistics associated with a preliminary layout for municipal line extensions. Specifically, final design work includes fly-overs to conduct aerial imagery, assessing environmental conditions, and evaluating potential water quality impacts.

"Our goal is to break ground for construction in 2017," said Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Alyssa Schuren. "We have an aggressive schedule and we aim to meet it."

PFOA is a possible carcinogen and endocrine disrupter. The chemical has been found above the Vermont health advisory level of 20 parts per trillion in private wells at 271 properties in North Bennington and Bennington. Extending municipal drinking water distribution lines to impacted homes is a preferred long-term solution for getting clean water to citizens.

Vermont's Department of Environmental Conservation committed State resources to pay for final design costs at a public meeting in North Bennington in September, in the absence of a commitment from Saint-Gobain. Comprehensive settlement talks with Saint-Gobain relating to the investigation and clean-up of releases of PFOA and municipal line extensions in North Bennington and Bennington continue.

Source: Office of the Governor
Last Updated at: November 22, 2016 16:38:00