BENNINGTON - Municipal waterline construction has begun in the Town of Bennington and the Village of North Bennington. Water service will be extended to properties with on-site wells contaminated or threatened by perfluooctanoic acid (PFOA) in the area where the State of Vermont and Saint-Gobain have settled Saint-Gobain’s liability. Saint-Gobain is also continuing an investigation of the affected properties east of Route 7 with oversight from the Agency of Natural Resources.
“The Agency is very excited to see construction beginning to extend water lines to homes impacted by PFOA contamination in Bennington and North Bennington,” Peter Walke, Deputy Secretary for the Agency of Natural Resources said. “This is an important milestone and there is more work to be done to ensure long term drinking water solutions for all impacted residents.”
The Town of Bennington’s waterline extension will be 10 miles long and serve approximately 155 individual properties in the northwest portion of the Town of Bennington. The Village of North Bennington’s waterline extension will run 4 miles and will serve approximately 55 individual property connections. The construction contractors will continue to work as long as weather permits and will be focused on laying distribution piping. While it is possible some service connections will occur this year, most homes and businesses covered under the settlement with Saint-Gobain will be connected to municipal water next construction season. Both projects are currently estimated to be completed by October 2018.
The Department of Environmental Conservation is wanting to address concerns about soil generated throughout the construction process. The top priority is to put as much soil back into the waterline trenches as possible and every effort will be made to keep soils as close as possible to where they were generated. The next option will be to place excess soils into the public right-of-way adjacent to the waterline. If excess soils remain following this work, approved private landowner locations will be used. These locations meet human health and environmental standards including limited erosion potential, situated away from wetlands, rivers or floodplains, already contain PFOA in the soil, and will be connected to municipal water. The VT 279 right-of-way location will only be used as a last resort, should the property receive approval for this activity.
As waterline projects get underway, the Agency of Natural Resources will provide routine updates. For more information, visit http://dec.vermont.gov/commissioners-office/pfoa.