July 23, 2018

PFAS Community Update

Bennington and North Bennington

Discussions with Saint-Gobain ongoing about the East Side
The State has met with Saint-Gobain to discuss our significant concerns with their consultant’s Conceptual Site Model (CSM) and to share our conclusions with Saint-Gobain after evaluating all the available site investigation data collected by Saint-Gobain’s consultants, Bennington College and other academic institutions, the Vermont Geologic Survey, and the State’s consultants. 

Our position is that Saint-Gobain is responsible for the PFOA groundwater contamination on both the east side and west side of the site.  Saint-Gobain is currently evaluating our conclusions and technical arguments. Over the next several weeks, the State will continue to communicate with Saint-Gobain to determine if they will voluntarily agree to complete the work needed on the east side of the site.  

The State’s goal is to have the final design and corrective action plan completed so that work could potentially begin in 2019, depending on discussions with Saint-Gobain and other factors. If Saint-Gobain is not willing to agree to a settlement, the legislature has allocated $750,000 for the state to follow the State’s process and begin design of a remedy that addresses the East Side of the Bennington site .

Water Line Work on the West Side Starts Up Again 
  • Water line work on the West Side of the site in Bennington and North Bennington is continuing and construction completion is on schedule. For homes and business being connected to the Town of Bennington’s public water system, the scheduled completion date is still November 1, 2018, and for homes and businesses being connected to the North Bennington public water system, the scheduled completion dated is on or before August 31, 2018. 

  • MSK Engineering has already connected 30 homes to municipal water and 75% of North Bennington’s waterline construction is complete. 

  • More details on individual contracts:
  • Contract 1 (North Bennington Road, Murphy Road, Edith Road, Austin Hill Road) will be completed in early November.
  • Contract 2 (Silk Road, Bridge Street, Cardinal Lane) will be completed in mid-August.
  • Contract 3 (Fairview Street, Vail Road, Eaton Road, Bard Road, Red Pine Road) will be completed by the end of August.
  • Contract 4 (Walloomsac Road, Gypsy Lane, Hill Shadow Farm Road, Pippin Knoll, Jennings Drive) will be completed by the end of September. 

Drinking water wells with PFOA levels under 20 ppt 
The Spring 2018 sampling of drinking water wells with PFOA levels below 20 ppt in the Area of Concern has been completed.  If you have not yet received your results, please contact Richard Spiese ( richard.spiese@vermont.gov ) or John Schmeltzer ( john.schmeltzer@vermont.gov ) at 802 828-1138 to get a copy of your results.  

Water Street Facility Investigation
The State has received a draft Site Investigation report for the Water Street facility and is in the process of reviewing. The draft report has also been placed on the DEC website.
Here’s the summary:
  • Significant levels of PFAS (PFOA, PFOS, and other PFAS) were identified on building materials inside the Water Street Facility and in the piping leaving the building that carried storm water to the river and wastes to the wastewater treatment plant. 
  • The report concludes that no further characterization of soils and groundwater on the Water Street facility site is necessary. 
  • It recommends quarterly groundwater sampling from monitoring wells in and around the facility over the next year and a further investigation to evaluate the following potential receptors:
  • sewer sludge within the storm water catch basins with potential exposure to utility workers and contribution to downgradient surface water bodies; and
  • building materials with potential exposure to workers and occupants during future land use changes.

The State will be commenting on the findings of this report once a review of the report is completed. The results of this work will be shared with the public as it becomes available.
POET Sampling and Maintenance
POET (point-of-entry treatment system) sampling and maintenance are ongoing. The west side POETs are being maintained by Saint-Gobain, and the State of Vermont is maintaining the POETs on the east side. Many who had POETs installed in either the Spring or Summer of 2016 may have noticed that the carbon cnnisters are being replaced.  As part of regular maintenance, POETs systems that have been in operation for approximately 24 months are being replaced.  At this time, the laboratory performing POET analysis for the eastside is experiencing a backlog. It is taking 3-4 weeks to receive analytical results instead of the typical 1-2 weeks. We apologize for the delay. We will forward these results as soon as we receive them.  

What’s next:
  • POET sampling and maintenance on the west side will continue until the POET performance standard in the Consent Order is met.
  • Sampling results will be sent to home owners 4-6 weeks after sampling.
  • The performance standard is PFOA concentrations below 20 ppt for eight consecutive quarterly sampling rounds. A statistical analysis must show that PFOA concentrations are either stable or declining. 
  •  If the performance standard is achieved and a POET is removed, the well will still be part of a long-term sampling program under the Consent Order to ensure it does not reach 20 ppt again and, if it does, clean water would be provided again.
  • For the homes and businesses on the west side that are being connected to municipal water, the POETs will be removed by CT Male and Culligan once municipal water is turned on to the home. Once this happens, sampling of these POET systems, and the wells, will cease.

Corrective Action Plan (CAP) for Corrective Action Area 1 Operational Unit B (CAA 1 OU B)
The CAP for CAA 1 OU B has been formally approved and can be found along with our approval letter on our website .

One task specified in the CAP is to look at the potential of installing replacement wells for residences where connecting to municipal water is not feasible.  Barr Engineering, a consultant for Saint-Gobain, is in the process of performing a replacement well pilot at six residences that have PFOA concentrations in their water supply above 20 ppt. 

Their next step is to submit to the individual residences, as well as the State, a draft report about their well and the potential for a new well to be installed that has a potential to provide clean water. The individual draft reports were scheduled to be completed by the end of June, but Barr Engineering notified the residences and the State that the individual reports will be done in the next several weeks.

Warren Wire Plant #3, Center Pownal and Pownal Tannery  

Warren Wire Plant #3, Pownal Center
A limited number of locations have exceeded the updated Vermont Department of Health Advisory due to detection of perfluoroheptanoic acid (PFHpA) above 20 ppt. These residents have been notified and offered bottled water. These homes will be resampled, and the State will work with the property owners to install point-of-entry treatment systems (POETs) where needed.
Pownal Tannery
This summer, the EPA and State of Vermont are sampling monitoring wells associated with the former tannery to assess if PFAS groundwater impacts discovered in North Pownal came from waste disposal practices associated with historical tannery operations or other potential sources.

General Cable Facility
This summer, American Premier Underwriters Inc. with oversight by the DEC, will be assessing the degree and extent of PFAS groundwater impacts emanating from the former manufacturing facility northward to the Pownal Dam.

Southern Vermont Regional Airport  

To date, the DEC and the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) have collectively sampled 54 bedrock wells and 1 spring near the Rutland-Southern Vermont Regional Airport in Clarendon. Initially, 10 water supply samples were collected from drinking water wells located both on and off of the Airport property. The results of this sampling indicated that the two bedrock wells serving the Airport Business Park were impacted by per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). 

Since this initial discovery VTrans and DEC collected an additional 45 supply well samples from properties along Route 7B Central, Gorge Road, and Middle Road. Point of entry treatment systems have been installed on three residential water supplies and an engineered treatment system is in its final phase of construction for the Airport Business Park water system.

Water supply sampling is continuing with DEC reaching out to residents in the following areas: 
  • Northside of Middle Road between Route 7 and Cobb Lane, including Cobb Lane and Parsonage Street;
  • Airport Road, north of the Airport; and
  • previously unsampled water supplies along Route 7B Central.

While other sources have not been ruled out, the PFAS contamination may stem from aqueous film-forming foams (AFFF) which are required to be available at airports with specific operating certificates.

AFFF is used to extinguish fires of flammable liquids such as gasoline or jet fuel, and other hazardous chemicals. At airports that have AFFF, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires specialized firefighting equipment and AFFF to be tested regularly so they will not fail at extinguishing a fire. The field work portion of a site investigation was completed at the airport in late June 2018. Soil borings and monitoring wells were installed at the airport and soil and groundwater samples have been collected for laboratory analysis. The report on this work is expected to be received in late Summer/early Fall 2018.

Perfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS)
Contamination Status Report
July 2018

Since that first discovery of PFAS contamination in Bennington and North Bennington, the DEC has investigated numerous sources of PFAS using a strategic sampling strategy that is updated and adapted based on the latest scientific research. The DEC has prepared a report which provides an overview of the findings of this work and provides a look into additional work needed in the future.  This report is located on the DEC website.

In Case You Missed It...

Earlier this month, we sent you an email about the PFAS health advisory update. Vermont Department of Health updated its health advisory for drinking water of 20 ppt to cover five per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) on July 10, 2018. The previous health advisory of 20 ppt for PFOA and PFOS combined was issued in 2016 following the discovery of PFOA in private drinking water wells in Bennington and a public drinking water supply well in Pownal, Vermont. 

Want to read more about this health advisory update? Click here .

For More Information

  • To find out more about Vermont’s PFAS sampling plan and information for affected communities, visit the DEC PFOA webpage
  • For more information about health and PFAS in drinking water, visit the Health Department’s website

You are receiving this e-mail because you have requested to be updated on Vermont's PFOA response efforts, or because your well was recently sampled. If you wish to stop receiving these updates, you may unsubscribe at any time using the link at the bottom of this e-mail. 
Department of Environmental Conservation
Vermont Agency of Natural Resources
1 National Life Drive, Main 2
Montpelier, VT 05620-3520