September 25, 2019
MONTPELIER, VT – The State’s Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) is beginning to receive initial testing results for per- and poly-fluoroalkyl (PFAS) levels in public drinking water. The sampling work is part of Act 21, which requires all Public Community and Non-Transient, Non-Community drinking water systems in Vermont to test for PFAS by December 1, 2019. To date, 45 public drinking water systems have sampled for PFAS out of a total of 590 systems that have been requested to sample for PFAS. Testing shows that the water in each of the 45 systems currently meets Vermont’s drinking water standard requiring PFAS concentrations below 20 parts per trillion (ppt). The standard is for the sum of five PFAS in drinking water. The State’s investigation of PFAS contamination in Vermont is ongoing.
“The initial sampling results we have received from Vermont’s public water systems are encouraging and we will continue to monitor systems that had PFAS detections below 20 ppt,” said Bryan Redmond, Director of the Department of Environmental Conservation’s Drinking Water and Groundwater Protection Division. “With the December 1st deadline rapidly approaching, we ask the water suppliers to sample as soon as possible.”
Act 21 became law this spring. Among other requirements, the law mandates all operators of Public Community and Non-Transient, Non-Community drinking water systems to test for PFAS. Examples of Public Community Water Systems include municipal water systems, mobile home parks, and homeowners associations. Examples of Non-Transient, Non-Community Water Systems include schools and business served by their own on-site water supply.
If a public drinking water system has levels at or above the 20 ppt standard, the system operator will post “Do not drink” notices. ANR will then work with water system operators to identify potential PFAS sources and provide guidance to those communities. ANR is also developing an emergency response manual for communities and engineers to use. A sampling contract has been established for water systems to access the services of a qualified contractor to perform PFAS monitoring and reporting for a set price. More information, including testing results, are available here.
This fall, ANR will receive and review additional sampling results, detailed in the July 2019 Statewide Sampling Plan. The additional testing includes certain high priority electroplating and car wash sites, landfills and landfill leachate (the liquid that drains or 'leaches' from a landfill), wastewater treatment facilities, biosolids, and land application sites where organic matter recycled from wastewater treatment plants is applied on fields.
ANR is also holding a series of public hearings to receive comments on the draft Water Supply Rule. This rule amendment proposes a cumulative maximum contaminant level (MCL) of 20 ppt for five PFAS in drinking water.
- 11/06/19, 9:00 AM. Agency of Natural Resources Annex Building, 190 Junction Road, Berlin, VT, 05602
- 11/07/19, 7:00 PM. Rutland Free Library, Fox Room, 10 Court Street, Rutland, VT 05701
- 11/12/19, 7:00 PM. Department of Environmental Conservation, Essex Regional Office, Act 250 Room, 111 West Street, Essex Junction, VT 05452
ANR will continue to work with communities to implement all Act 21 requirements through a series of steps designed to keep the public safe from PFAS contamination. These include:
- Testing public drinking water systems by December 1, 2019;
- Testing imported bottled water approved for sale in Vermont by January 13, 2020;
- Investigating additional potential sources and impacts of PFAS;
- Finalizing a drinking water standard;
- Developing water quality standards for lakes, ponds, rivers, and wetlands.
To learn more about Vermont’s PFAS sampling plan and the State’s response to PFAS contamination, visit dec.vermont.gov/pfas. For information about public health impacts, visit healthvermont.gov/water/pfas.