Water Quality & PFOA

Blue-green algae blooms, photographed in the summer of 2014 in Lake Champlain.
Taylor Dobbs / VPR FILE

Both of Vermont's major party gubernatorial candidates say they support a long-term plan to clean up Lake Champlain and other waterways in Vermont, but neither candidate is offering a plan to pay for it.

Maisie Twohig, 10, drinks from a water fountain at Grafton Elementary School.
Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

The Department of Environmental Conservation will extend its testing program for PFAS chemicals in the drinking water at Vermont schools.

Andy Paciulli, who was Academy School principal when this photo was taken in February, points to one of the Brattleboro school's fixtures that was replaced after state tests discovered lead was leaching into the water.
Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR File

The results of a new report found lead contamination in each of the 16 Vermont schools tested.

The state is calling for more testing, however the report says there are not enough resources to test the water in every school building in Vermont. 

Monday evening, a citizen group called Don't Undermine Memphremagog's Purity (DUMP) held a panel discussion about a proposed expansion of the Coventry landfill. The panelists sit along a table in front of a brick wall while one speaks.
Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

Most of the trash generated in Vermont is trucked to the state’s only permitted landfill in the Northeast Kingdom. The landfill's owner has plans to expand it, and this week residents from both sides of the U.S.-Canada border pushed back on those plans.

Bennington College professor David Bond, center, oversees work on the campus to investigate PFOA in groundwater.
Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

Scientists from Bennington College say they've uncovered PFOA contamination far beyond the neighborhoods with polluted wells.

Take a water sample in a sink.
Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

When perfluorinated chemicals were first found in southwestern Vermont, very few people in the state had even heard of the dangerous compound. But now scientists here, and across the country, are finding more and more of it in the environment.

Information sheets on PFAS sit on Grafton Elementary School Principal Liz Harty's desk. The school is one of two with levels of the chemicals above the state's safe drinking water standard.
Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

Two Vermont schools have levels of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) above Vermont’s safe drinking water standard.

Rutland is one of more than a dozen Vermont municipalities with a combined sewer system. When the city's water treatment system is overloaded, untreated sewage and runoff flows out of this pipe into a local creek.
Taylor Dobbs / VPR File

Unintended releases from sewage treatment plants are happening all over the state, most recently in Burlington where a computer failure last week allowed 3 million gallons of partially disinfected wastewater to enter Lake Champlain.

A water fountain mounted on a wall.
gerenme / iStock

The Vermont Department of Health is adding three new polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, to its drinking water advisory, and the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation says it will be testing the drinking water in 10 schools that have used cleaning supplies that contain the chemicals.

The Connecticut River.
Ric Cengeri / VPR File

Those who swim or boat on the Connecticut River and its tributaries can go online to check the water quality at their favorite spots.

New Englanders had a chance to speak out this week about what they want to see in new Environmental Protection Agency rules for industrial chemicals in drinking water – but residents say the proof that they were heard will be in what the regulators do next.

A very old sewer system is still in use at about 800 wastewater treatment plants in the U.S., including along the Connecticut River. It’s called “combined sewer overflow,” or CSO. What overflows into waterways is a mix of storm water, street runoff and raw sewage.  

Blood tests. A new federal report looks at the long-term health effects of PFOA.
Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR file

A new federal report on the health effects of perfluorinated compounds, including PFOA, could force Vermont to lower its safe drinking water standard.

EPA Region 1 Administrator Alexandra Dunn says Vermont still has to come up with a long-term funding plan to clean up Lake Champlain.
John Dillon / VPR

Lake Champlain will get a $4 million increase in federal clean-up funds this year. But the Environmental Protection Agency says Vermont still needs to develop a funding source of its own.

Rows of soda bottles with different color caps.
Kwangmoozaa / iStock

Gov. Phil Scott has signed a bill into law that redistributes several million dollars from the state's uncollected bottle deposit fund into clean water programs.

Rutland-Southern Vermont Regional Airport.
Nina Keck / VPR

The Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation will continue testing drinking water near the Rutland-Southern Vermont Regional Airport in Clarendon.

Vermont's Department of Health tested the blood of 477 people in Bennington County. This week, the EPA held a conference to discuss issues around chemicals like PFOA.
Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

This week, the Environmental Protection Agency held a summit in Washington D.C. to discuss the environmental impact of chemicals known as PFAS.

J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Rep. Peter Welch has signed on to a bipartisan letter demanding that the Environmental Protection Agency released a study on the health effects of the chemicals PFOA and PFOS.

If Scott Pruitt arrived on Capitol Hill expecting to be grilled Wednesday, he did not have to wait long to see that expectation fulfilled.

Blue-green algae blooms, photographed in the summer of 2014 in Lake Champlain.
Taylor Dobbs / VPR FILE

The Vermont House on Friday advanced a bill that raises taxes to fund clean water programs.

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