The state now says it will pay for the engineering plans to extend municipal waterlines to homes in Bennington contaminated with PFOA.
PFOA is a suspected cancer-causing chemical, and 266 private wells in Bennington are contaminated above the state advisory level.
At a meeting at Bennington College Wednesday, Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Alyssa Schuren said talks have stalled with St. Gobain, the company responsible for the water contamination.
"The state is in ongoing settlement discussions with St. Gobain, and I have been very frustrated with the pace of those settlement conversations," Schuren said. "But if we want to break ground for a big project in the spring, we need to get that design done this fall."
State officials decided this week to put up the money so engineers can begin work on the municipal water extension plans.
The designs will cost about $2 million, and the entire waterline extension could top $30 million.
Schuren is talking with lawmakers about finding additional state money in case work has to begin on the waterline extensions in the spring before a settlement agreement is reached with St. Gobain.