State Reaches Agreement with Saint-Gobain
Montpelier, Vt. – The State announced today that it has reached a final agreement with Saint-Gobain for the properties on Bennington’s east side affected by perfluooctanoic acid (PFOA) contamination. As part of the agreement, 245 homes on the east side of Bennington are eligible to receive municipal water service. In total, the State has now secured the extension of waterlines to 470 homes or businesses in Bennington and North Bennington.
“Since PFOA was discovered in Bennington wells, leaders across state and local government – under multiple Administrations – have been working to restore safe drinking water to every resident and I’m pleased to take another step forward today,” said Governor Phil Scott. “I thank the people of Bennington for their continued trust, patience and support. I also want to thank the Agency of Natural Resources, the Attorney General and his team, the Bennington delegation and local leaders for their hard work, as well as Governor Shumlin, Attorney General Sorrell and their teams for their work at the start of this process. It has truly been a team effort, as we’re all committed to reaching the best possible resolution for the impacted communities.”
With this agreement, municipal waterline construction will begin on the east side of Bennington this summer.
“I want to first thank the people of Bennington and North Bennington,” said Attorney General T.J. Donovan. “This has been a long road and I want to thank you all for your patience as we’ve worked to get to today’s settlement. I also want to thank the Bennington Legislative Delegation, Governor Scott and the dedicated team at the Agency of Natural Resources. This has been a team effort since day one and I want to thank you all for your leadership. Clean drinking water is a human right. We promised the people of Bennington that we would ensure that their right to clean water was protected. Today’s settlement continues Bennington on the path to clean water, and we will remain committed to seeing the terms of the settlement through to completion.”
“The people of Bennington have been incredibly patient, and I want to thank them first and foremost,” said Bennington County Senator Dick Sears. “I am also grateful to the whole state and local government team for going above and beyond to help the community achieve long-term clean drinking water as quickly as possible. I’m pleased to see this settlement move forward, and I look forward to seeing the work completed.”
Waterline engineering and design will be finalized this spring. As with the waterlines on the west side, this is anticipated to be a two-year construction period. Residents not getting connected to waterlines will either receive a new well or continue to have their treatment systems maintained until their wells are no longer contaminated.
Under this final settlement, which builds upon the agreement the State and Saint-Gobain reached in 2017, Saint-Gobain will directly fund a significant portion of the waterline extensions and be responsible for long-term monitoring, the drilling of replacement wells, and the long-term operations and maintenance of in-home treatment systems. Waterline work in the East Side of the Town of Bennington is estimated at $20 to $25 million. Pending final budget approval, the State has agreed to commit $4.7 million to extend waterlines to the maximum extent feasible.
Department of Environmental Conservation staff will be available from 1 – 7 p.m. on Monday, April 15 and 8:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. on Tuesday, April 16. During those open house periods interested community members are encouraged to stop by to speak with state officials and engineers about the waterline construction. The open house periods will be held at the following location:
Vermont Department of Health Bennington Office
342 Main Street
Bennington, VT 05201
The settlement agreement will be open for a 30-day public comment period. Residents can access the terms of the settlement as well as find additional information about the State’s response to PFOA contamination at http://dec.vermont.gov/commissioners-office/pfoa.