The State of Vermont has issued a Do Not Drink order to tenants of the Rutland Airport Business Park after per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) were found in the business park’s water system. PFAS are a family of chemicals associated with firefighting foam and other manufacturing processes. PFOS and PFOA are two chemicals that belong to this family. All business park tenants have been offered bottled water and the State is working with the water system operator and consultants to swiftly design and install a treatment system that will remove the contaminants from the water system.
The sampling in Clarendon was part of Vermont’s Statewide Sampling Strategy, following PFOA contamination of drinking water wells in Bennington. The strategy is designed to identify other potential sources of PFAS and address contamination issues throughout the state. As part of this statewide sampling strategy, a team of state scientists traveled to the Rutland Southern Vermont Regional Airport in Clarendon to test for PFAS contamination associated with firefighting foam. This foam, a potential source of PFAS, has been used at or around the airport for training and emergency response purposes.
The team collected and tested 10 drinking water well samples from the airport and surrounding properties on March 13, 2018. The majority of the samples – six out of ten – were collected along Airport Road due to the road’s proximity to a suspected source area. PFAS were not found in any of the wells tested along Airport Road and the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) notified all the well owners of these results. Because no PFAS were found in wells along Airport Road, no additional testing on Airport Road is planned at this time and residents should feel safe to continue drinking their well water.
The only samples that tested positive for PFAS came from the water system serving the Rutland Airport Business Park. The State sampled the two wells serving the business park and found PFAS detected in both wells. Concentrations above the 20 ppt Drinking Water Health Advisory were found for PFOA and PFOS in one of the wells. The State sampled the combined well again to determine if it had PFAS above the Health Advisory and will have sampling results in mid-April.
Immediately after receiving the sampling results, the State moved to protect the health of all industrial park workers. The State worked with the system operator to shut down the well that tested above the 20 ppt Health Advisory, immediately offered bottled water for users of the system as a precautionary measure and met with a water system operator to design a new water supply system.
Because PFAS were found in the business park wells, the state will test drinking water supplies along Route 7B adjacent to the business park. The state will be reaching out to residents along Route 7B road and the testing results will be made public.
For more information on the test results and for additional guidance, please visit the DEC PFOA webpage at http://dec.vermont.gov/commissioners-office/pfoa/communities