Saint-Gobain to Fund $20 Million Water Line in Vermont

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By Aaron Nicodemus

Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corp. will fund a $20 million water line extension for approximately 200 Vermont homes, settling claims that a shuttered factory leached a chemical into area wells.

The agreement, to be filed in state court in Bennington, Vt., July 26, will settle some of the claims made by Vermont regarding chemical contamination emanating from the former ChemFab Corp. factory. The factory was found to have contaminated about 200 private drinking water wells with perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) in Bennington and North Bennington. Now owned by Saint-Gobain, the plant, which closed in 2002, is also suspected of contaminating wells in nearby Hoosick Falls, N.Y.

Construction of water lines in Bennington and North Bennington will begin in the fall, according to a statement from Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan‘s office.

“Clean drinking water is a human right,” Donovan said in a statement, calling the agreement “a good first step.”

Additional Investigations Ongoing

The agreement will address drinking water remedies for a portion of the contaminated area. Saint-Gobain will continue to investigate PFOA contamination throughout the region.

“Providing potable drinking water to citizens of Bennington and North Bennington has always been our shared goal,” Tom Kinisky, president and chief executive officer of Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics, said in a statement.

PFOA can be harmful to the thyroid gland and is suspected of causing testicular and kidney cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. It was widely used as a non-stick coating, and ChemFab used it to coat fabrics. Tests in 2016 found PFOA at levels greater than the state limit of 20 parts per trillion in Bennington private wells, and it was traced to the ChemFab plant.

The state will host several community meetings, and the agreement will be open for a 30-day public comment period once it is filed in state court.

To contact the reporter on this story: Aaron Nicodemus in Boston at anicodemus@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Rachael Daigle at rdaigle@bna.com

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