Scientists from the Watershed Management Division have been actively assisting the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation in responding to the identification of “PFOA” contamination in drinking water wells near Bennington, Vermont. Information about this chemical, DEC’s response to its discovery in the vicinity of Bennington and Pownal, and resources for prospectively affected individuals, may be found on DEC’s PFOA Contamination Response Updates webpage.
To aid in understanding the movement of PFOA into waters in the Bennington area, Division scientists have coordinated PFOA testing of water and fish tissue. In mid-March, Division scientists conducted a round of surface water and sediment testing in several relevant streams and ponds near Bennington. The results of that sampling were reported by Governor Shumlin in his March 31 press release. Results of the sediment sampling and other testing were reported by the Governor in his April 13th press release.
On April 13th, Division scientists teamed up with the Department of Fish and Wildlife to acquire and test fish from area lakes and streams. An electro-fishing boat to collect fish from Lake Paran and the Mill Pond of the lower Paran Creek, while a back-pack electro-shocker was used to collect fish from the Walloomsac River and other sections of Paran Creek.
Five different species of fish were captured, and will be analyzed for PFOA contamination, including largemouth bass, brown trout, yellow perch, brown bullhead, and white sucker. Results will indicate whether PFOA in the Bennington area may be bio-accumulating into fish.