Hazardous chemicals linked to cancer and other illnesses have been found near three Vermont landfills.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has entered an agreement to hold company Taconic responsible for removing the chemical PFOA from water supplies in the Rensselaer County community of Petersburgh. 

WikiMedia Commons

Homes with wells tainted with the chemical PFOS on Long Island will be connected to a clean drinking water supply.

Lucas Willard / WAMC

The toxic and persistent chemical PFOA has been discovered in water supplies in Petersburgh, New York, Bennington, Vermont, and other communities over the past year. As residents with contaminated drinking water in Hoosick Falls are still waiting for a permanent fix, The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is considering the Rensselaer County village for Superfund status.

Lucas Willard / WAMC

Three mothers from Flint, Michigan, a city dealing with toxic, lead-contaminated tap water, shared a gymnasium with local residents at St. Mary’s Academy in Hoosick Falls, where water has been tainted with the carcinogen PFOA.

Lucas Willard / WAMC

Story updated 9/29/2016:

The Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation says it is determined to provide clean drinking water to Bennington-area residents with contaminated wells, despite a slowed negotiation process with the company linked to the contamination.

Vermont health and environmental officials are reminding residents in the Bennington area about a meeting this evening to address the chemical contamination of local water supplies. 


The town of Bennington Vermont is planning a construction project that will connect some customers with wells contaminated by chemicals to town water.

A geologist in Vermont is gathering data to help build a 3-D map of the ground underneath Bennington to try to understand how the potentially cancer causing chemical PFOA may be moving through groundwater.


Federal regulators say they have recommended designating part of an upstate New York village as a Superfund site for cleanup.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is continuing to test the Hoosic River and its tributaries to determine how the potentially carcinogenic chemical PFOA is moving through the local area.

Republican State Senator Kathy Marchione presided over the marathon 10-hour session at Hoosick Falls Central School.
WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

A long-awaited New York state Senate hearing on the fallout from PFOA-contaminated water was held Tuesday in Hoosick Falls. Officials and angry residents took to the microphone.

Judith Enck former EPA Regional Administrator
WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

At Tuesday's state Senate hearing on the water contamination in Hoosick Falls, the federal EPA came in for criticism from some state officials who blamed the agency for failing to lead, and from some lawmakers who said they were disappointed the EPA did not send a representative to the hearing. For a response, WAMC News spoke Wednesday with District 2 Regional Administrator for the EPA, Judith Enck.

Alan Chartock

WAMC's Dr. Alan Chartock discusses the Berkshire Ramblers, North Korean sleepers, Apple's back taxes to Ireland, and New York state's PFOA hearings.

The New York state Senate Health and Environmental Conservation Committees have announced their long-awaited hearings into the PFOA drinking water contamination in the Hoosick Falls area. The committees say this morning the hearing will be August 30 at 10:30 at Hoosick Falls High School. They say the purpose of the hearing is to “explore the sources of water contamination, examine local, state, and federal oversight issues, and hear from experts, local residents, and others on what can be done to assist affected communities and mitigate future incidents.” Residents can offer public comment but must register ahead of time with the committees.

Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin marks the lifting of Pownal's "Do Not Drink" order August 1, 2016.
Jim Levulis / WAMC

Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin says the state is looking to identify a new water source in Pownal after lifting a Do Not Drink order put in place because of chemical contamination.

Gov. Peter Shumlin in Pownal Monday.
Jim Levulis

Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin was in Pownal on Monday to mark the lifting of the “Do Not Drink” order for the town’s water, which had been contaminated by the industrial chemical PFOA.

Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin in South Burlington July 19, 2016
Pat Bradley / WAMC

Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin will be in Pownal Monday to mark the lifting of the “Do Not Drink” order for the town’s water. Pownal is one of several Northeast communities facing PFOA contamination.

On Wednesday, Weitz & Luxenberg filed its suit on behalf of plaintiff James Donavan. The complaint alleges that exposure to the chemical PFOA, which was discovered in the village drinking water supply and private wells, has caused Donavan’s ulcerative colitis and other illnesses.

The Vermont Health Department says blood tests of 477 people in the Bennington area exposed to the chemical PFOA found an average level that is almost five times the national average.

Governor Andrew  Cuomo Thursday signed the bill, which would allow those with health effects associated with a federal or state superfund site to file a personal injury suit by suspending the statute of limitations for three years after such a designation.

PFOA And PFOS Found In Groundwater At VT Landfill

Jul 21, 2016


Vermont officials say suspected cancer causing chemicals have been found in groundwater at a closed landfill in Shaftsbury.

Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin released the results of testing for perfluorinated compounds in groundwater at two of 11 testing sites in the state.  While both locations show the believed to be carcinogenic chemicals present in groundwater wells, there is also minimal concern that drinking water wells are being contaminated.

Lucas Willard / WAMC

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand was in Hoosick Falls, New York Friday to hear from families affected by chemically-contaminated water.

a water drinking fountain

This week the New York State Assembly Committees on Health and Environmental Conservation announced hearings into examine the quality of the state’s drinking water and state government’s responses to contamination issues.

Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin
WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin (R,C,I-Troy) spoke with reporters inside the first floor of the state Capitol.

Lucas Willard / WAMC

Republican State Senator Kathy Marchione’s office has released the results of a two-hour meeting between New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Director of State Operations, the Departments of Health and Environmental Conservation, and leaders from Hoosick Falls and Petersburgh — where the water is contaminated. 

Lucas Willard / WAMC

The communities of Bennington and North Bennington were changed when PFOA was detected in private wells in February.

State and local officials as well as contracted engineers will hold a public meeting at Bennington College at 5:30 for residents affected by the PFOA contamination found in local water supplies.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is calling on federal regulators to use new powers under the toxic substances reform bill to determine if the industrial chemical PFOA should be restricted or banned.