PFOA Contamination Response: Community Updates
December 2016
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NOTE: Because the news pace has slowed down, we will now be sending community updates
as substantial news and information is compiled.  

Thank you.
The Vermont Department of Health will hold a community meeting to discuss the department's analysis of the blood test result data in Bennington.

Date: Thursday, January 26, 2017 at 5:00 p.m.
Location: Tishman Lecture Hall at Bennington College

Dear residents of Bennington, Pownal, Shaftsbury and beyond:
Tomorrow is my last day as DEC Commissioner. As I prepare to leave office, I wanted to take a moment to thank all the residents, officials, volunteers, and academic partners for your exceptional cooperation and patience over the last eleven months. The DEC team and Bennington County residents have gone through a great deal together in an effort to address the unforeseen impacts of PFOA, found in hundreds of drinking water wells.
When I was alerted to the first batch of PFOA test results around the former Chemfab facility last year, February 25, 2016, I had no way of comprehending what was in store. In response to PFOA concerns, your community banded together, distributed bottled water, organized meetings and supported one another. It was and is inspiring. Thank you for working so closely with me and my team over the last eleven months. It has been a pleasure getting to know so many of you. I wish it had been under different circumstances.
Please know the incoming team of Scott-appointees, under the leadership of the new Agency of Natural Resources Secretary, Julie Moore, have committed to being equally dedicated to the PFOA issues at hand. Though the new DEC Commissioner has yet to be named, the DEC team of Chuck Schwer, Richard Spiese, John Smeltzer, our legal team, drinking water team, and Vermont Department of Health officials will all still be working for you and with you. The Attorney General's Office will also remain heavily involved with our negotiations with Saint-Gobain.
I will do everything that I can to ensure a smooth transition and to make sure that PFOA in Bennington County remains a top priority.
Alyssa B. Schuren, Commissioner
Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation  

BenningtonNorth Bennington & Bennington Update
Final Rules Adopted to Create Vermont Standard for PFOA and PFOS
Two final rules were adopted this past December with respect to establishing standards for PFOA and PFOS. After a full public process and review of submitted comments, the 20 parts per trillion enforcement standard for PFOA and PFOS and a combined standard of 20 parts per trillion was incorporated into Vermont's regulations for hazardous waste materials and groundwater protection.

What does this mean? Essentially, there is now an official, enforceable standard for PFOA and PFOS if either is detected in industrial wastes, liquid wastes, or groundwater and drinking water sources. If detected above these standards, then official procedures for managing hazardous waste or monitoring and remediating groundwater must be followed. For more technical details about the rules, call (802) 828-1294.

How Rules Are Adopted: The Agency of Natural Resources (which houses DEC) is responsible for facilitating the rulemaking process for new suggestions that pertain to environmental regulations. In this process, the Agency drafts changes to rules, hosts public meetings about the changes, and prepares responses to all public comments. The Agency then sends a final proposed rule-with all the supporting documents-before the Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules (LCAR), which ultimately decides whether or not to approve changes to a rule. If the Committee approves the proposed changes, a new rule is effectively adopted.  

Links to Final Adopted Rules:

Letters Exchanged Between Gov. Shumlin and Gov. Elect Phil Scott and Saint-Gobain CEO 
As a new administration prepares to take off in the State capitol, DEC staff have been busy briefing incoming leaders on the last 11 months of work on PFOA and PFOS issues in Vermont. The goal is to ensure a smooth transition in leadership and maintain an approach that looks out for the best interests of impacted Vermonters.  In a letter to Saint-Gobain on December 12,  both Governor Peter Shumlin and Governor Elect Phil Scott articulated their dedication to getting "permanent clean water to constituents in Bennington County." 
Saint-Gobain CEO Tom Kinsky responded to the Governor's letter on December 22. "We were surprised and concerned by Mr. Kinisky's letter," stated DEC Commissioner Alyssa Schuren. "Saint-Gobain has been a strong partner during the initial response, providing residents bottled water and filtration systems on homes. The tone and content of the most recent letter suggests a potentially significant shift in the way the company will approach addressing PFOA concerns in Bennington County."

Both Governor Shumlin and Governor-elect Scott will continue to press for long-term clean water solutions for impacted residents, including municipal line extensions.

Updated Sampling Results from North Pownal
Testing results from drinking water wells in North Pownal have been compiled and updated on the web. To date, 135 wells have been tested for PFCs, and 95 wells (70%) have returned non-detect values. Seventeen wells have been found to contain concentrations of PFOA, PFOS, or both combined over the Vermont health advisory limit of 20 parts per trillion. 23 wells contained concentrations under 20 parts per trillion.

Bottled water and point-of-entry treatment systems (POETs) are to be provided for impacted residents. There has not been an identified potentially responsible party in the North Pownal area.

shaftsburyOther Updates
Update on Testing Results For Halifax and Windham Solid Waste Management District Landfills
Halifax Landfill: The residential well adjacent to the Halifax landfill reported all non-detect values for PFOA and PFOS, while an additional on-site groundwater monitoring well reported PFOA at 4.8 ppt.
The DEC does not know yet if monitoring will continue, and if so, how. The only result that was above the groundwater enforcement standard at Halifax Landfill site was a single monitoring well at a combined level of 28 parts per trillion for PFOA and PFOS.DEC staff are still analyzing the results and how they relate to the specific nature of the site (topography, geology, etc.). Most importantly, no residential drinking water wells are at risk from the contamination discovered at this site.
Windham Solid Waste Management District Landfill: At the Windham Solid Waste Management District landfill site, four locations were tested: two monitoring wells on the landfill property and two residential supply wells located adjacent to the landfill.  The residential supply wells reported non-detect values for all perfluorinated compounds. The monitoring wells returned results for PFOA at concentrations below the groundwater enforcement standard. The shallower monitoring well tested at 9 ppt PFOA, and a deeper bedrock monitoring well tested at 3.5 ppt.

As reported by the Brattleboro Reformer : "It was a fantastic result," Windham Solid Waste Management District Executive Director Bob Spencer said. "My two monitoring wells were below even the minimum standards." 

Health Department Launches Redesigned Website
After 12 months of preparation, the Health Department has launched its newly redesigned and reorganized website at . You can find information and resources related to the Department's PFOA contamination response at:

infoInformation Resources Available
For general PFOA questions and concerns:
Call 802-828-1138.
Visit: Vermont DEC PFOA Response Page

For questions about potential health effects of PFOA:
Call the Vermont Department of Health toll-free at 800-439-8550.
You may also reply to this e-mail with general questions.