State Asks Court To Approve PFOA Deal With Saint-Gobain

Sep 7, 2017

The state has asked the Bennington Superior Court to approve the agreement that it reached with Saint-Gobain over water that's contaminated with the industrial chemical PFOA.

Gov. Phil Scott announced the agreement in July, and he said Saint-Gobain would pay $20 million to extend municipal waterlines to a portion of the area in Bennington that is contaminated.

Following that announcement there was a 30-day comment period, and Department of Environmental Conservation attorney Matt Chapman says about six people weighed in to oppose the proposed deal.

Chapman says the state considered the comments but decided to ask the court to approve the deal.

"The state responded to each individual person who commented, and we take each comment very seriously," Chapman said. "I think that in this particular case the state reached the conclusion that after a year-and-a-half of negotiation it represents the best interests of both the State of Vermont and the community."

Saint-Gobain owned the Chemfab plant in North Bennington, which is the suspected source of the chemical pollution.

About 270 private wells are contaminated with PFOA, which is linked to a number of health effects including testicular cancer, high cholesterol and thyroid disease.

The agreement that the state wants the court to approve only covers a portion of the contaminated area, and Chapman says many of the people who commented opposed the partial deal.

Chapman also said the agreement with Saint-Gobain would not prevent individuals from filing a class action suit against the company.