‘Stop Drinking the Water’: Vermont Samples Test Positive for Cancer-Causing Chemical PFOA

State officials will hold a public meeting Monday night to discuss the latest test results

tap water faucet
Tim Graham

The state of Vermont says tests of a water supply in the town of Pownal found low-levels of a potentially cancer-causing chemical that has already been found in about 100 private wells in the adjoining town of Bennington.

Gov. Peter Shumlin's office said Thursday that results of three samples taken from the Fire District #2 municipal water source in Pownal found levels of the chemical PFOA of between 26 and 27 parts per trillion. The fire district serves about 450 people.

The state's advisory level for the chemical is 20 parts per trillion.

The Pownal case is the first time the chemical has been found in a public drinking water system.

The Department of Environmental Conservation advised impacted residents to stop drinking their water. 

The state said bottled drinking water would be provided for affected residents beginning Friday. It will be distributed at the fire station from 3 to 7 p.m.

According to WPTZ-TV, the DEC said it was "working to determine the best way to address the low levels of PFOA in the drinking water."

Perfluorooctanic acid was discovered in residential wells of North Bennington residents earlier this month. It was suspected the contamination came from the former Chem Fab plant.

Of the 185 residential wells tested so far, 104 tested positive for PFOA.

Public wells in Bennington and North Bennington have not been affected, the state said.

Additional testing will be done in the coming days. There is no at-home test for PFOA contamination.

State officials said they will hold a public meeting Monday at 6 p.m. at the American Legion Hall to discuss the new testing results.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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