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PFOA Found In Pittsford And South Burlington

The state says that the chemical PFOA has been detected for the first time outside of Bennington County. Gov. Peter Shumlin says PFOA and PFOS, which is also a suspected carcinogen, were found in groundwater on the Vermont Air National Guard base in South Burlington.

PFOA is a suspected cancer causing chemical that's contaminated more than 200 wells in southwestern Vermont.

PFOS was used in firefighting foam, which was widely used on the air base. Very high levels of both chemicals were also found in underground storage tanks at the Fire Academy in Pittsford.

The governor says the chemicals have not been detected in drinking water in these areas, and he says the state will conduct additional tests.

Private drinking wells were also tested near Harbour Industries in Shelburne but neither of the chemicals were detected.

Harbour Industries manufactured wire and cable products, a process which once involved using PFOA.

Water samples from an existing groundwater collection system on the South Burlington air base showed a PFOA concentration of 9,300 parts per trillion and PFOS concentration of 38,000 parts per trillion.

The state has set an advisory level of PFOA at 20 parts per trillion.

The advisory level for PFOS has been set at 30 parts per trillion.

In a press release, Shumlin's office says all the residents within one mile of the base get their water from a municipal water system, which is clean.

The state says it will do additional testing around the base.

Drinking water wells around the Pittsford Fire Academy have also been tested and they have not shown any contamination.

The state tested an underground storage tank at the Fire Academy that is used to collect wastewater that drains off a concrete pad used for firefighting training on-site.
Results showed PFOS and PFOA detected in the tank water at 72 parts per trillion and 6 parts per trillion, respectively. Concentrations of PFOS and PFOA found in the tank-bottom sludge were 218,000 parts per trillion and 6,000 parts per trillion.

The state will also continue testing groundwater around the Fire Academy and monitoring wells.

Howard Weiss-Tisman is Vermont Public’s southern Vermont reporter, but sometimes the story takes him to other parts of the state.
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