PFOA Groundwater Contamination Spurs New Toxics Legislation

May 10, 2016

The discovery of a possible carcinogen in private drinking supplies in North Bennington spurred the passage of new toxics legislation in Montpelier this year.

Back in March, regulators detected high levels of the chemical PFOA in wells near old manufacturing sites in southern Vermont.

Lauren Hierl, the political director at Vermont Conservation Voters, says legislation that passed last week will improve the state’s response to similar discoveries in the future.

“The ability to respond and identify potential contamination is improved, and also the ability to recover damages from companies that might have contaminated our water, or air, or land,” Hierl says.

Hierl says her organization is disappointed that lawmakers didn’t approve a provision that would have required testing for private drinking wells.

Gov. Peter Shumlin vetoed a well-testing mandate in 2011, though those tests would not have detected chemicals such as PFOA.