Clarendon, Vt., Businesses React To Contaminated Water Notice From State

Apr 5, 2018

The state of Vermont issued a "Do Not Drink" order to tenants of the Rutland Airport Business Park in Clarendon, following the detection of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in the water.

PFAS are chemical substances associated with firefighting foam and other products.

The testing in Clarendon is part of a statewide sampling effort, following contamination of drinking water wells in Bennington, to identify other potential sources of PFAS and address contamination issues throughout Vermont.

Anni Ritter, comptroller at Knight Kitchens — a company that makes custom cabinetry — says they’ve been using bottled water at their Clarendon plant for years, so she says there will be little impact to their 22 employees.

“I wasn’t surprised because we’ve had problems with the water quality in the past,” said Ritter.

She said when they first built their company headquarters more than 20 years ago, they were told the water was not safe to drink. But Ritter said that six months later, they were told the water was fine.

“But it’s always been a little foggy, so we did not trust to drink it," said Ritter, adding: "We've purchased bottled water for over 20 years."

Ritter said she’s not angry and their company is able to work around the water issue, but she admitted she is concerned for people who own houses nearby in case their water is impacted.

"We feel confident in the state of Vermont and what they're doing to quickly react to get the right type of treatment in."— Geof Brown, Vermont Country Store

Geof Brown, executive vice president at the Vermont Country Store — which has a warehouse and onsite bakery in the Rutland Airport Business Park — says they immediately switched to bottled water and had their food products tested. He said the state has assured them their food products are safe.

"We feel confident in the state of Vermont and what they’re doing to quickly react to get the right type of treatment in," Brown said. "And as soon as we learned from the airport park we went into immediate remediation to make sure that we were protecting our employees and our customer base."

In its press release, the state announced: "Because PFAS were found in the business park wells, the state will test drinking water supplies along Route 7B adjacent to the business park." The state also said it will be reach out to residents along Route 7B and will make the results known to local residents.

Disclosure: Knight Kitchens is a VPR underwriter.