“BENNINGTON — In its final version, an engineering report commissioned by Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics is holding to the conclusion that two former ChemFab Corp. factories in Bennington were not the sole significant source of PFOA contamination.

The report which was submitted to the state Department of Environmental Conservation March 15 for comment, remains at odds with the conclusions state environmental officials have reached. They believe that stack emissions from the two factories were primarily responsible for contamination of soils and groundwater over a wide area in Bennington and North Bennington.

DEC will next review the 7,377-page report with appendices from Barr Engineering in the coming weeks and offer its final comments…

The focus of the report was the eastern section of a state-identified contamination zone around the two former factories, involving more than 150 properties with soil and groundwater contamination from perfluorooctanoic acid.

The state Agency of Natural Resources is negotiating with Saint-Gobain to develop an action plan to deal with the contamination. That would be similar to the consent agreement the two parties reached last year to have the company provide $20 million to extend municipal water lines to about 200 affected properties in the western section of the zone.

If no settlement can be reached, state officials have said, they will take legal action to hold the company responsible for the costs — contending that similar water line extensions would be the best long-term solution to providing clean drinking water.

The section studied in the Barr Engineering report includes properties in the zone roughly east of Route 7A and a rail line…

That term refers to the amount of PFOA or similar compounds that might be expected because of the widespread use of Teflon or similar materials in consumer or industrial products for decades. PFOA is believed to have spread atmospherically worldwide, and also through water. It is estimated to be in at least trace amounts in the blood of nearly every human.

Atmospheric sources from outside the contamination zone appear to be significant, the Barr Engineering report states, and bedrock groundwater analytical data “indicate that the Bennington landfill is the primary source” in groundwater southwest of the landfill.

The state has consistently rejected theories of significant PFOA impacts in the zone unrelated to the ChemFab plants.”

Read the full article by Jim Therrien.