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EPA Begins Waterline Extension Project in Bennington, VT

Release Date: 08/29/2002
Contact Information: Peyton Fleming, EPA Press Office, 617-918-1008

BOSTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced that construction has begun to extend a municipal waterline in Bennington, VT to 14 homes whose drinking water wells are contaminated or threatened with contamination. EPA identified perchloroethylene (PCE), a chlorinated solvent, at levels of up to 470 parts per billion (ppb), far above the federal drinking water standard of five ppb, in residential wells in Bennington’s Buckley Drive area.

The decision to extend the waterline comes after EPA and the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) determined that private wells were contaminated or at risk of being contaminated by the chlorinated solvents in the groundwater. While some residential properties in this area are served by municipal water, most obtain their water from private wells.

DEC has been overseeing the PCE investigation around Buckley Drive and Harmon Road since 1993, when petroleum and chlorinated solvents were identified in soil and groundwater. In December 1998, low levels of PCE were first detected by the state in residential wells on Buckley Drive and Harmon Road. Area residents were subsequently provided with bottled water by the state. Periodic monitoring of the residential wells showed that contamination levels continued to increase, making the well water unusable for cooking or bathing. DEC then installed temporary filtration systems at impacted homes.

“For too long, families in this neighborhood have been living under a cloud of fear about their drinking water being unsafe,” said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA’s New England Office, which is funding the project. “Constructing this waterline will ensure safe drinking water for these homeowners.”

Contractors began construction work this week and the project is expected to be done by late October. EPA is investigating the source of the contamination but no responsible party has been found so far.

New water lines are being installed along Buckley Drive, part of Harmon Road and to one residence on Northside Drive. EPA will post traffic signs and provide flagger service to help avoid traffic delays.