“BENNINGTON — The Senate Appropriations Committee has approved funding to design the second phase of water line extensions to deal with PFOA contamination of wells in Bennington.

Sen. Dick Sears, D-Bennington, said Wednesday that $750,000 was approved to cover full design of water line extensions to properties affected by perfluorooctanoic acid in what is called the eastern section of a contamination zone around two former ChemFab Corp. factories.

Those properties are roughly east of Route 7A in Bennington and a rail line.

Construction of new water lines to about 200 properties in the western section of the zone began last fall, following a consent agreement between the state Agency of Natural Resources and Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics. In that agreement, Saint-Gobain agreed to provide up to $20 million for water line work and to cover other costs borne by the state since PFOA was discovered here in wells in 2016…

In addition to funding for design work, Sears said $200,000 was approved by the Appropriations Committee for blood testing of residents exposed to PFOA, primarily through drinking water. He said that could include testing for residents who were not included in past blood draws organized by the state, testing of former residents who lived here while the ChemFab plants operated, from 1968 to 2002, and retesting of those who attended prior blood draws.

ChemFab coated fiberglass and other fabrics with Teflon in a process that include drying at high temperatures, producing stack emissions which state officials believe spread PFOA contamination across a wide swath of North Bennington and Bennington.

Sears said Wednesday that a request to insert the funding into the state’s fiscal 2019 budget will next go to the full Senate and, if approved, to the House as part of budget proposals. He said he previously conferred with Scott administration officials and believes there is support at that level.

The funds would go into a now-depleted account set up to deal with situations involving toxic materials, he said, adding that the account could be replenished if the state reaches a settlement with Saint-Gobain that covers water line extensions and other costs in the eastern section.”

Read the full article by Jim Therrien