1st Home in Water Contamination Case Connected to New Line
BENNINGTON, Vt. (AP) — The first of about 200 homes affected by private well contamination was connected to a new water line extension Monday as part of a settlement with a company.
Under an agreement approved earlier this year, Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics will be paying $20 million to extend municipal water lines to the Bennington-area homes.
The state agreed to drop a lawsuit, which was filed after it found private wells were contaminated with perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA. Saint-Gobain's now-closed factory in North Bennington used the chemical.
PFOA has been linked to certain kinds of cancer and thyroid disease. It was used in coatings such as Teflon and other consumer products.
"Today marks significant progress," Republican Gov. Phil Scott said, adding "we will not stop until all impacted residents have safe, clean drinking water."
The PFOA was discovered in wells across Bennington and North Bennington in 2016.
The Vermont Agency of Natural Resources said about 30 percent of the water mains in the project area have been installed. Before the construction pauses for the winter, 17 more homes will be connected to municipal water.
The goal is to connect all the homes in less than a year. The department will hold a community meeting in January to provide residents with an update.
In Hoosick Falls, New York, near another Saint-Gobain plant, PFOA was found in the municipal water system, more than 800 private water wells and a public school. Saint-Gobain added filters to public and private wells to remove PFOA until an alternative water source is found. The factory site itself has been designated a federal Superfund site, allowing federal resources to be used to clean up the contamination.
In New Hampshire, Saint-Gobain agreed to fund design efforts for a potential extension of public water service into Bedford. The agreement is in response to drinking water wells near a Saint-Gobain plant containing PFOA above state levels.