Two Vermont schools have levels of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) above Vermont’s safe drinking water standard.
Grafton Elementary School and Warren Elementary School both tested above the state standard for PFAS, a group of manmade chemicals that have been linked to a number of adverse health effects.
After the Vermont Health Department added three new PFAS chemicals to its drinking water advisory, the Department of Environmental Conservation announced it would be testing 10 schools that have on-site wells and used cleaning supplies with those chemicals.
The chemical PFOA, which has contaminated more than 300 wells in Bennington, is related to the chemicals detected in the Vermont schools.
According to the state's test results, Eden Central School, Lamoille Union USD 18 and Smilie Memorial Elementary School all had levels of PFAS, but below the Vermont safe drinking water standard.
Brookfield Elementary School, Charleston Elementary School, Marlboro Elementary School, Ripton Elementary School and Sharon Elementary School were also tested, but had no chemicals detected in the water.
Grafton Elementary School is in the Windham Northeast Supervisory Union, and superintendent Chris Pratt said the school found out on July 26 that the school’s water was contaminated. Bottled water was brought in the next day, and Pratt said a notice was sent out to all of the teachers and families.
“We’re doing everything we can to resolve the situation,” Pratt said. “But the kids are safe. The state is working with us to continue to get water into us. And, you know, that’s all we can do for now with the results we have.”
The Department of Environmental Conservation is retesting all five schools that showed detectable levels in order to confirm the results and will work toward long-term solutions with the schools.
Ten Vermont schools had their wells tested during the summer of 2018. Here are the results, according to the Department of Environmental Conservation:
PFAS Detected Above Health Advisory
- Grafton Elementary School
- Warren Elementary School
PFAS Detected, But Below Health Advisory
- Eden Central School
- Lamoille Union USD 18
- Smilie Memorial Elementary School
No PFAS Detected
- Brookfield Elementary
- Charleston Elementary School
- Marlboro Elementary School
- Ripton Elementary School
- Sharon Elementary School