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Upon learning of the presence of PFOA in certain of the groundwater in Bennington, Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics promptly funded bottled water and point-of-entry (POET) filtration systems for homes and businesses with wells that tested above the state limit of 20 ppt for PFOA. We have also paid for extensive soil, groundwater and surface water sampling, as well as three engineering studies to analyze the potential expansion of the municipal water system.
Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics funded the extension of municipal water lines to approximately 200 homes in the western portion of the impacted area – an area known as Corrective Action Area 1. Additionally, in Spring 2019, we also reached an agreement with the State of Vermont regarding the eastern portion of the area, known as Corrective Action Area 2 (CAA2), which includes the extension of municipal water lines to an additional 244 homes.
In addition, Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics has conducted investigation activities and submitted an evaluation of corrective action alternatives to the State of Vermont for one of the former ChemFab locations, and developed a site investigation plan for a second former Chemfab location.
While we no longer operate a facility in Bennington, Saint-Gobain believed it was important to step forward in a leadership position and ensure the community has access to potable water.
It is also important to note that we never manufactured PFOA. These types of materials were commonly used in a wide variety of applications both inside and outside of our industry. Pursuant to the terms of the EPA’s Voluntary Stewardship Agreement, from 2006 to 2015, our suppliers undertook the process of phasing out the use of PFOA in the products they sold to us. These chemicals were never regulated as toxic substances by Vermont or the EPA. It was not until January 2016 that the state of Vermont, for the first time, began to regulate PFOA.
Private wells in the area where PFOA has been detected above the state of Vermont’s standard have received point-of-entry (POET) systems, funded by Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics, which effectively remove PFOA from the water.
Additionally, we entered into a consent order with Vermont, part of which includes the funding of water lines in certain areas of Bennington and the Village of North Bennington – connecting approximately 444 homes in the area to municipal water.
In keeping with our values and as a former member of the community we believe it was important to step forward in a leadership position. We are pleased to have reached agreement to achieve our shared goal of ensuring access to potable water.
The agreements with the state of Vermont for Corrective Action Areas 1 and 2 address the presence of PFOA in portions of the Town of Bennington and the Village of North Bennington. Per the Consent Orders, Saint-Gobain funded water line extensions for approximately 200 homes around the former ChemFab Water Street facility (CAA1). We also agreed to fund waterline extensions to 244 homes in CAA2, which is the area near the Bennington Landfill.
Additionally, the agreements cover the investigation and evaluation of corrective action alternatives for the two former Chemfab locations, long term groundwater monitoring in the Bennington area, and funds to reimburse the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation for certain investigation activities they have performed.
No. And, it’s important to note that we never manufactured PFOA. But in keeping with our values and as former community members, we believe it was important to step forward in a leadership position and ensure the community has access to potable water. We are committed to this community even though we no longer operate a facility here.
In 2000, Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics acquired the Chemfab plant in North Bennington. The facility was closed in 2002. When it was open, this plant made coated fabrics for use in a range of industrial applications, including the aerospace, automotive and electronics industries, among others. Neither Saint-Gobain nor Chemfab manufactured PFOA or PTFE.
As we worked through our Consent Orders with the state of Vermont, Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics worked, among others, the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation, the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, the office of the Governor and other state and local officials regarding options for potable water for residents. We continue to liaise with these groups as needed as we complete our site investigation work.
Saint-Gobain began the process of appealing the State’s 20 ppt advisory level, but upon signing the Consent Order, we agreed to voluntarily dismiss this challenge at this time. The dismissal, however, is without prejudice, which means we retain the right to refile the challenge.
We believe it is essential for us, the Bennington and North Bennington communities, Vermonters and all involved to participate in the fair rule-making process and understand the specific science and regulatory principles the State has evaluated that led to setting the limit at this level. While Vermont has the ability to set its own PFOA limits, it is important that the state does so in a manner that is transparent and based on sound regulatory principles that guide these types of determinations.
The Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation regularly updates its page with information of note, including the latest from North Bennington. Please find the page by clicking the link.Visit the Site
In his regular column All About Town, Stuart A. Hurd discusses the progress on the remediation efforts Saint-Gobain is making with the town to provide long-term solutions to the communities of North Bennington and Bennington.Read the Article
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