PFOA Contamination Response: Community Updates
March 2017
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. 

NOTE: We will now be sending community updates on a monthly basis.

Thank you.

Dear community members:

I hope that you will forgive that some time has passed since you've heard directly from me. I want to assure you that it is in no-way a reflection of the effort the Agency has invested since I visited Bennington at the end of January. We know that the community is anxious for solutions and that any delay is a frustration.

We continue to aggressively pursue settlement negotiations with Saint Gobain.  Although we are not able to share many specifics about the negotiations at this time, I am pleased with the progress our legal team has made. Saint-Gobain has increased its responsiveness to State concerns, and we are encouraged by the recent pace of settlement negotiations. Please know, if and when an agreement is reached, the community will have an opportunity to provide comments on the agreement. In addition, the State will  work closely with the Town of Bennington and the Village of North Bennington to ensure that a path forward reflects the community's needs. We are planning a community meeting for mid-April (details to follow), where we hope to be in a position to share more details on the proposed path forward.
Also, this communication will be the first in what will be a series of monthly updates. In addition to the updates below, I would like to share information about our new DEC Commissioner:

We welcomed Emily Boedecker, as Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner, to the Agency's leadership team on March 6th. Emily Boedecker is the former executive director for Local Motion, a Burlington-based non-profit advocating for walkable and bike-able communities. Prior to that role, she spent a decade with The Nature Conservancy of Vermont in various marketing, fundraising and managerial capacities, including serving as acting state director.  I am confident that her extensive experience, along with her personal and professional commitment to public health and the environment, will allow Commissioner Boedecker to serve Vermonters well in her new capacity.  
Commissioner Boedecker has been fully briefed on PFOA matters, and a long-term solution for impacted Vermonters is a priority. You will have the chance to meet the Commissioner at a community meeting to be scheduled for next month. 

On a final note, I want to recognize the patience and perseverance community members have demonstrated in the face of this great challenge over the past year. No community should have to go through what this community has gone through. The citizens of Bennington County have been an inspiration to me and my team, and getting a good result for your community remains our top priority.

Julie S. Moore, Secretary 
Vermont Agency of Natural Resources

A blood draw clinic has been scheduled for June 6, 2017, at the Health Department's Bennington Local Health Office. This clinic is for eligible individuals who have not yet had their blood tested.
Eligibility for Blood Testing - You are eligible if:

The Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation tested the well of the home in North Bennington or Bennington where you live now, or where you lived any time in the past eight years, 
You worked or lived at the former Chemfab/Saint-Gobain site at 940/1030 Water Street in North Bennington - OR - you work or live there now.


You have not yet had your blood tested for PFOA by the Vermont Department of Health.

To register for the upcoming clinic, complete the online registration:
People who are eligible for the clinic will be contacted by Health Department staff to set an appointment.
Individuals who are not eligible but want to have their blood tested for PFOA should contact their health care provider. Here is a list of private labs that will test blood for PFOA .
Test Results -  In July 2016, the Health Department mailed results to each person who took part in the earlier blood testing clinics. In early February 2017, the Health Department mailed results to each person who took part in the November 2016 blood draw clinic.

BenningtonNorth Bennington & Bennington Update

Second Well Re-sampling Event On Schedule for Spring 2017
In October and November of 2016, the State of Vermont's contractor re-sampled most of the wells in Bennington, as most had previously tested non-detect or less than 20 parts per trillion for PFOA. The State of Vermont is planning on resampling these wells again approximately six months after this last sampling event, in April-May 2017. Another way of looking at this is that all private drinking water wells that do not have treatment systems on them and are located in the Area of Interest ( see the map) will be resampled. Stay tuned and don't be surprised if you get a call to schedule a sampling event, or if the State's sampling contractor Weston & Sampson stops by to get another water sample later this Spring.

Out of 270 wells that were re-tested in Fall 2016, 258 remained below 20 parts per trillion or at non-detect levels. There were twelve homes that received re-sampling results above 20 parts per trillion and all these homes received point-of-entry treatment systems (POETs).
Final Maintenance Manual for POETs Approved by DEC
The State of Vermont has received and approved the final Operation & Maintenance Manual for the Point of Entry Systems (POET) installed on many wells in North Bennington and Bennington. This manual spells out maintenance practices required to keep POETs in good working order each year. It also outlines how water sampling should be conducted and how often.

Culligan, a Vermont licensed water treatment contractor, will continue to operate and maintain POET systems in Bennington according to the manual. Depending on where you live, either CT Male or Weston & Sampson, both environmental consulting companies, will be sampling your water supply to ensure the systems continue to filter PFOA out of the water entering your home.

Approximately two-thirds of the installed POET systems have now been subjected to 3 consecutive months of sampling and analysis. The data shows that, regardless of PFOA concentration or the amount of water used in a building, all of the POETs have steadily treated PFOA to below 20 parts per trillion. The State of Vermont will continue to ensure the proper operation of these systems and will continue to forward sampling results from your systems to you as they become available.

How is planning for the water line design work going in Bennington and North Bennington?
Contracts to begin the next planning phase of the design process were signed with Otter Creek Engineering and MSK Engineering & Design in November 2016. Since then, the contractors have completed their boots-on-the-ground assignments, including fly-overs to conduct aerial imagery acquisition, historic preservation assessments, assessing environmental conditions, and evaluating potential water quality impacts. That field data has been brought into the office for analysis and planning in order to estimate all expenses and logistics associated with municipal line extensions. The contractors are on target to wrap up their work by early spring, as outlined in the contracts. 

Unicorn Hires Consultant to Perform Well Search for Fire District #2
Unicorn Management Consultants (UMC), the consultant managing affairs for the party potentially responsible for contamination of Pownal's municipal water supply (APU), recently hired a contractor (Otter Creek Engineering) to begin scoping out potential sites for a new water supply well for the town. The Fire District #2 Prudential Committee holds the state permit for operating the municipal water system, and they are working directly with UMC to guide long-term drinking water solutions that will serve its citizens. The contractor is currently looking at  three proposed well sites, each proposed to be located on the former Race Track Parcel.  
The carbon filtration treatment system continues to work well at removing the PFOA from Fire District #2 supply well. There were some initial problems with the chlorinator, but these issues are being addressed. 
North Pownal  
More work is being planned to determine the extent of Perfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) contamination coming from the former landfill and lagoons at the old Pownal Tannery site. A small number of homes in North Pownal had well testing results showing the presence of PFAS above the state health advisory limit.  These homes are receiving bottled water, and point-of-entry-treatment systems (POETs) have been installed. Sampling of these POETs will be scheduled for approximately every 3 months. 
Pownal Center
PFAS were not detected in any of the private drinking water wells recently tested near Pownal Center. However, groundwater contamination was identified near the former Warren Wire facility. The Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is working with the potentially responsible parties to conduct more work to determine the extent of the contamination and to evaluate the need for any site remediation.

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.