Vermont found PFOA, related chemicals at a Shelburne site


SHELBURNE — Statewide testing for chemicals like PFOA turned up more contamination at a Chittenden County site.

State officials say they have no plans to test more sites for PFOA and similar man-made chemicals. But "precautionary testing" will be done if officials suspect PFOA and other perfluorinated compounds, which were used when making Teflon and in firefighting foam for decades, could be at a site, according to an announcement from Gov. Peter Shumlin's office.

The former Harbour Industries in Shelburne is one of five additional sites found to be contaminated by PFOA and related chemicals. Tests were done after PFOA was found in North Bennington in February. The property will undergo a site investigation "to determine the extent and degree of contamination in the area."

"The investigation has confirmed that any contamination is contained to very specific sites in the State," Shumlin said in a statement. "Vermont is known for some of the cleanest drinking water in the country. Vermonters should continue to have confidence when they turn on the tap that their water is clean."

The state tested water over concerns of past activity at the former ChemFab/Saint-Gobain site in North Bennington. Tests found levels of PFOA, or perfluorooctanoic acid, above the state's limit. The state has since tested 11 more sites for PFOA and the related chemical PFOS (perfluorooctanoic acid).

In Shelburne, three of four groundwater monitoring wells were contaminated. PFOA levels ranged from 8 to 430 parts per trillion, and PFOS levels ranged from 9 to 300 parts per trillion.

PFCs were found at four more: The Vermont Army National Guard base in South Burlington; former Hercules Incorporated site, Colchester; IBM, Essex Junction; and Pittsford Fire Academy. In all cases, area private drinking water wells tested clean and/or clean municipal drinking water sources are available.

To date, 524 wells have been sampled in Bennington and North Bennington. Of those, 259 were found to have PFOA levels above the state's health advisory level. PFOA was found in former landfills in Bennington and Shaftsbury.

A municipal system serving Pownal, Fire District No. 2, had PFOA levels of 27 ppt. A filtration system was installed on that municipal system.

Contact Ed Damon at 802-447-7567, ext. 111.


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