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DEC Releases Chemfab Complaints And Documents

Howard Weiss-Tisman
The former Chemfab plant in North Bennington.

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.

More than 100 private wells in North Bennington and Bennington have elevated levels of the suspected carcinogen PFOA, and state officials say Chemfab is the likely source of the contaminant.

PFOA was used by Chemfab to apply protective coatings to fabric.

The chemical was unregulated at the time, and Chemfab was permitted to send PFOA emissions up its smokestacks.

But in the dozens of reports released Tuesday there is a long record of the state trying to convince the company to voluntarily cut down on offensive emissions.

After years of trying to improve the odors, Vermont in 2001 required the company to install catalytic incinerators to clean up the emissions, the records show.

Later that year Chemfab announced it would close the North Bennington plant and move to New  Hampshire, which did not require the incinerators.

DEC Commissioner Alyssa Schuren said the department will release additional records on the Chemfab plant as they become available.

For more information go to www.anr.state.vt.us/dec/PFOA.htm.

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