MONTPELIER – (RealEstateRama) — Gov. Peter Shumlin today provided an update on surface water testing from Bennington and North Bennington. Ten water samples were taken for testing from local creeks and ponds at locations around the former Chemfab facilities to help determine the source and extent of PFOA contamination.
Surface water concentrations of PFOA ranged from no detection (less than 7 parts per trillion) to 79 parts per trillion. The highest PFOA concentration was the surface water sample from the pond on the Bennington College Campus. PFOA concentrations in the four water samples from Paran Creek ranged from 16 to 38 parts per trillion. PFOA concentrations between 8 and 9 parts per trillion were detected in the water samples collected from the Walloomsac River just upstream and downstream of Paran Creek. No PFOA was detected in the water samples from Lake Paran or in the Walloomsac River just upstream and downstream of its confluence with the Roaring Branch.
“It is unlikely these concentrations would pose an ecological risk to fish and other aquatic organisms in these waters,” said Department of Fish & Wildlife Commissioner Louis Porter.
The PFOA concentrations found in the waters tested are much lower than concentrations that could be harmful to freshwater organisms. For example, in reviewing acute toxicity studies, PFOA at concentrations of 752,000,000 ppt was shown to have a negative effect on rainbow trout.
The Health Department states that the PFOA levels found in the water bodies are much lower than levels that would be a risk to people who swim there. In general, PFOA does not accumulate in fish very much, and many fish that are sampled across the country do not have detectable levels of PFOA.
Fulfilling their commitment to the North Bennington community, the Agency of Agriculture, Department of Health, Department of Fish and Wildlife, and DEC will work together in the coming weeks to test fish in the area as a precaution.
Department staff will use both surface water and sediment results to continue determining how PFOA is distributed in the environment within these communities, in order to develop a long-term remediation plan.