From the Desk of Tom Kinisky

President and CEO of Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics


 

Learn more about the actions Saint-Gobain is taking in North Bennington to provide safe drinking water for the community.

 
 

Frequently Asked Questions


 

Q: WHAT are the actions saint-gobain performance plastics has taken since learning about the presence of PFOA in the drinking water in north bennington?

Upon learning of the presence of PFOA in the water in North Bennington, we promptly funded bottled water and point-of-entry (POET) filtration systems for 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 two preliminary engineering studies to analyze the potential expansion of the municipal water system.

To that end, Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics is funding the extension of municipal water lines to approximately 200 homes in the western portion of the impacted area. We are also going to complete an expedited investigation in the area near the Bennington Landfill to investigate the degree and extent of PFOA, the potential source(s) of PFOA whenever possible, and the appropriate next steps, if any.

The company is also developing a site investigation plan for the former Chemfab plant, and paying to help the Department of Environmental Conservation with its investigation.

We will continue to work closely with the state in the hopes of reaching a reasonable and cost-effective solution that achieves our shared goal: access to potable drinking water for the residents of Bennington and North Bennington.

 

Q: why did saint-gobain take these actions?

While we no longer operate a facility in North Bennington, it was important to step forward in a leadership position and ensure the community has access to potable water. We are part of a company with a 352-year history and we have remained in existence this long because the wellbeing of our employees and the broader community is always top of mind. 

 

Q: is there pfoa in my drinking water if i'm a resident of bennington or north bennington?

Point-of-entry (POET) systems funded by Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics effectively remove PFOA from the water. 

 

Q: what issues do the recent consent order with the state of vermont address?

The agreement with the state of Vermont addresses the presence of PFOA in portions of the Town of Bennington and the Village of North Bennington. Saint-Gobain has agreed to fund water line extensions for approximately 200 homes around the former Water Street facility and complete an expedited investigation in the area near the Bennington Landfill to investigate the degree and extent of PFOA, the potential source(s) of PFOA whenever possible, and the appropriate next steps, if any. Additionally, Saint-Gobain is developing a site investigation plan for the former Chemfab plant and paying to help the Department of Environmental Conservation with its investigation activities.

 

Q: does the consent order mean saint-gobain is responsible for the presence of pfoa?

No. 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. As part of the consent order, Saint-Gobain will complete an expedited investigation in the area near the Bennington Landfill to investigate the degree and extent of PFOA, the potential source(s) of PFOA whenever possible, and the appropriate next steps, if any. In short, we are committed to this community even though we no longer operate a facility there.

 

Q: Who iS SAINT-GOBAIN PERFORMANCE PLASTICS and what is its affiliation with the north bennington community?

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.

 

Q: how is saint-gobain performance plastics working with local officials and residents of north bennington?

Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics is cooperating and in communication with, among others, the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation, the office of the Governor and other state and local officials regarding potential solutions for potable water for residents. We will continue to remain transparent with the community regarding our efforts and the current progress.

 

Q: what is saint-gobain's position on the state of vermont's adoption of a 20 ppt limit for pfoa?

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.

 

Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation

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.

BENNINGTON TOWN MANAGER STUART A. HURD WRITES ON PFOA

In his regular column All About Town,  Hurd discusses the steps the town is taking with Saint-Gobain to provide long-term solutions to the community of North Bennington.

 

EPA PFOA FACT SHEET

Click here to download a fact sheet on PFOA from the EPA.

What is a Point-of-ENTRY System?

Learn more about point-of-entry (POET) systems, including what they are and how they work.