Water Quality

Taylor Dobbs / VPR

A University of Vermont research effort got a $20 million boost this year to fund studies on how to make watersheds more resilient to extreme weather events, officials announced Monday.

Angela Evancie / VPR file

The Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee has decided not to fix a technicality in legislation that requires sewage treatment plant operators to notify the public if there is a sewage spill, according to Sen. Chris Bray.

New England lawmakers are urging the Environmental Protection Agency to issue an updated health advisory level for the chemical PFOA.

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State officials in Vermont and New York have been testing water and people in areas where water wells are contaminated by the suspected carcinogen PFOA — and now professors and college students are joining the response team.  

Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

The discovery of high levels of a suspected carcinogen in private water supplies in Bennington and beyond has lawmakers questioning the adequacy of regulations that are supposed to protect Vermonters from toxic substances.

Taylor Dobbs / VPR File

Sewage spilled onto Church Street in Burlington Thursday, and city officials did not report it to the state agency responsible for warning residents when a potentially harmful sewage spill happens. According to officials’ interpretation of state laws, there is no requirement that the public be informed about the flow of sewage, which was caused by a problem with sewage infrastructure on private property.

Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR file

The state will test another 150 private wells around Bennington for the chemical PFOA.

Gov. Shumlin announced late Thursday that some well samples collected last week show that the suspected carcinogen has contaminated additional private wells beyond the original testing area.

Toby Talbot / AP

Gov. Peter Shumlin has announced that the state will test additional manufacturing sites around Vermont for PFOA, a suspected carcinogen that's been found in North Bennington and Pownal.

Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

The recent discovery of the suspected carcinogen PFOA in a public water supply in Pownal could end up costing the state a lot of money.

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Gov. Peter Shumlin said Thursday that he cannot reassure Vermonters on public or private water supplies that their water is safe to drink.

Howard Weiss-TIsman / VPR

The discovery of PFOA in Pownal has opened up a whole new set of challenges for the Department of Environmental Conservation.

Kathleen Masterson / VPR

Farmers are cheering plans to delay the adoption of new water quality standards on Vermont agriculture operations. Critics, however, say the decision to postpone will only exacerbate the pollution issues that have led to toxic algae blooms in Lake Champlain and other water bodies. 

Taylor Dobbs / VPR

A water contamination problem detected in private wells in North Bennington in February is also affecting municipal water in Pownal. Those discoveries come months after Hoosick Falls, New York, began dealing with the suspected carcinogen there.

Howard Weiss-TIsman / VPR

Carol Moore has worked and lived around Bennington for about 30 years. She was around when the Chemfab plant in North Bennington was operating. And she's always wondered about the emissions she used to see and smell, and about the stories she heard of the chemicals that were used there.

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The suspected carcinogen PFOA has now been found in the public water supply in Pownal. Gov. Shumlin today said test results show contamination slightly above the state advisory level.

Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

The Department of Health says it will be at least a few weeks before North Bennington residents will be able to do blood testing for the suspected carcinogen PFOA.

Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

The Department of Environmental Conservation has released documents on the Chemfab factory in North Bennington which show a long history of neighbor complaints and pressure from environmental regulators.

Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

Gov. Peter Shumlin announced Wednesday that the state is going to extend the range of water testing as results continue to come in showing widespread contamination around the former Chemfab plant in North Bennington.

Courtesy of Hansi Wang / NPR

People in North Bennington are set to get an update Wednesday night on the widening water contamination problem in their village. 

State test results came out Tuesday afternoon showing that 52 out of 67 private wells contained unsafe levels of a chemical known as PFOA. Results from the approximately 183 different water supplies tested will continue to come in over the course of the next week. 

Nina Keck / VPR

Private wells in North Bennington continue to be tested for the potentially harmful chemical PFOA, or perfluorooctanoic acid, a contaminant now believed to have originated with the closed Chemfab manufacturing plant.

But state environmental officials are also looking at other sites where the chemical may turn up, including places that regularly use fire fighting foam.

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