Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation

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Stormwater permits could be costly for some

MONTPELIER — Properties with more than three acres of impervious surface — such as a paved parking lot — may soon need to obtain stormwater permits or pay significant “impact fees” under new stormwater rules being considered by the state. The Department of Environmental Conservation is required to adopt an updated stormwater management rule under Act 64, which was signed into law by former Gov. Peter Shumlin in 2015. The updated rule is part of the state’s effort to meet the federal Total Maximum Daily Load mandate for phosphorous flowing into Lake Champlain. Padraic Monks, DEC’s stormwater program manager, said the updated rule being drafted by the department includes the additional general stormwater permit. “We were directed to revise the stormwater rule, re-issue it by the end of this year and also adopt new regulations for existing stormwater discharges,” Monks said. Continue Reading →

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Saint-Gobain appeals state’s enforcement level for PFOA

MONTPELIER — The company believed by the state to be responsible for contaminating private water supplies in southern Vermont has filed an appeal challenging the state’s acceptable level for perfluorooctanoic acid. A former Chemfab factory in North Bennington, purchased by Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics in 2000 and shuttered in 2002, used the chemical known as PFOA to manufacture non-stick coatings like Teflon. The chemical is now showing up in groundwater and soil samples collected near the former factory. Agency of Natural Resources Secretary Deb Markowitz created a 20 parts per trillion limit for PFOA in groundwater on March 16 through an Interim Enforcement Standard. Setting an interim standard is allowed under the state’s existing Groundwater Protection Rule and Strategy. Continue Reading →

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State’s PFOA response praised as officials focus on long-term solutions

MONTPELIER — Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Alyssa Schuren was preparing to testify in front of a Senate Committee on the morning of Feb. 25 when news of drinking water contamination in North Bennington was delivered, kicking off an all-out effort by her department and the governor’s office to address an alarming situation. “I was just about to go down and testify in Senate Natural Resources and Energy … and we had 10 minutes until we were going to catch the bus. The division director … comes running in, he opens the door, he’s red-faced, he sits down and he says, ‘We have the test results back from Bennington,’” Schuren said in an interview at DEC’s main office. “I immediately feel myself just sit up straighter, because you could tell by his face that this was not going to be good news.”

The news was not good. Continue Reading →

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Saint-Gobain to cover $50,000 cost for testing wells in North Bennington

MONTPELIER — State officials say investigating contamination by a possible carcinogen in private wells in North Bennington is expected to cost around $50,000, which will be paid for by the company believed to be responsible. Gov. Peter Shumlin and other state officials announced the discovery of Perfluorooctanoic, or PFOA, on Feb. 25. Officials believe the chemical originated from a now-closed factory on Route 67A in North Bennington. Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics purchased the former ChemFab site in 2000 and closed it in 2002. Continue Reading →

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State officials are investigating water contamination in North Bennington

MONTPELIER — A possible carcinogen found in a nearby New York town has also been found in several private wells in North Bennington, the Shumlin administration announced Thursday morning after receiving test results just hours earlier. The chemical, Perfluorooctanoic, or PFOA, is the same chemical that was found in the village of Hoosick Falls, N.Y., that has drawn national attention. It was that case that spurred a concerned citizen to reach out to members of the Vermont Legislature with concerns of potential contamination in North Bennington. One company, Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics, operated factories that made non-stick coatings in both towns under the Chemfab name in recent decades. The New York plant is still operating while the North Bennington facility, which was purchased by Saint-Gobain in 2000, was closed in 2002. Continue Reading →

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