UPDATE: Vermont's Department of Environmental Conservation continues to find new levels of PFOA and PFOS near landfills across the state and believes a former Chemfab plant in North Bennington could be responsible for some of it, as reported by VPR.
The state has been testing landfills in the surrounding counties that received waste from the plant in response. Elevated levels have already been found at multiple sites near Shaftsbury and Bennington, and three more sites have tested above the state limit in the past month. So far, no residential wells near the sites have tested positive for the chemicals. Once all testing is complete the DEC plans to reassess its landfill management statewide in regards to the safe disposal and treatment of these chemicals.
- Elevated levels of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) were found at a closed landfill in Shaftsbury, VT. The Vermont Health Advisory limit for PFOA and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) combined is 20 parts per trillion. Testing at one well found levels of PFOA at 25 parts per trillion.
- PFOA has been found to potentially cause cancer and is a major concern in drinking water. Residents of 15 area homes with private wells will be provided with bottled water until their supplies can be tested.
- Additional monitoring wells at the landfill will be tested in coming weeks and the state's Department of Environmental Conservation will be contacting local residents as needed.
The landfill was open from 1967 to 2006 and the town is in charge of its post-closure plan. A local official told the Rutland Herald that he didn't expect this to affect the town's active transfer station which is next to the landfill. While this finding could complicate maintenance procedures at the landfill, it doesn't appear that the chemicals originated at the site.
Local residents first became concerned after elevated levels of PFOA were found near a manufacturing facility owned by the company Saint-Gobain in neighboring Hoosick Falls, NY. The company had also run a facility in North Bennington, VT and elevated levels of the chemical were eventually found there too. The state then asked Shaftsbury to conduct tests because of its proximity. Saint-Gobain is currently involved in a class-action lawsuit over the issue and has contested Vermont's especially strict standards for PFOA levels in drinking water.
Last month, PFOA and PFOS were also found at a former construction and demolition landfill in Salem, NH. Foam used to fight numerous fires at the site was suspected to be the source. High levels of the chemical were also recently found in the Tennessee River due to leaching from a landfill in Decatur, AL.