State agencies continue investigating PFAS contamination at Rutland-Southern Vermont Airport

Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the Agency of Transportation (VTrans) continue to investigate detections of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in groundwater in and around the Rutland-Southern Vermont Regional Airport in Clarendon, they announced in a statement early Wednesday.

To date, the State has sampled 35 bedrock water supply wells and one spring in and around the Airport. Of these, 29 supply water to private residences. PFAS has been detected in 17 of the 35 water supplies, with 5 samples exceeding the Vermont Department of Health Drinking Water Health Advisory of 20 parts per trillion (ppt) for the sum of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS).

VTrans photo of Rutland-Southern Vermont Regional Airport in Clarendon.

Bottled water is being offered to all users of drinking water supplies with detections of PFAS until it can be established that concentrations detected are stable and the health advisory will not be exceeded. If water supplies exceed the health advisory, users will also have a point of entry treatment (POET) system installed to effectively remove the PFAS from the water. To date, the State has installed two residential POETs, and will continue to work to install POETs at any residences where the health advisory is exceeded.

The State is extending the area of investigation of PFAS water supply contamination with the goal of establishing the boundaries of PFAS detections in water supplies. Sampling will be conducted along Middle Road from the southern intersection with Route 7, to just north of Otterview Drive. If you own or rent a home in this area, please contact Michael Nahmias, DEC site manager, or visit the following survey to request the sampling of your water supply:

Concurrently, the State is planning an initial site investigation at the airport to assess potential source areas of PFAS contamination in soils and shallow groundwater. While other sources have not been ruled out, the PFAS contamination may stem from aqueous film-forming foams (AFFF) which are required to be available at airports with specific operating certificates. AFFF is used to extinguish fires of flammable liquids such as gasoline or jet fuel, and other hazardous chemicals. At all airports, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires specialized firefighting equipment and AFFF to be tested regularly so they will not fail at extinguishing a fire. Across the country, water supply wells at airports, military bases, and fire training academies are being tested. PFAS contamination identified at these locations is likely to be from the use of AFFF. This is an emerging environmental issue that is affecting communities nationwide.

On Wednesday, May 30, 2018 at 6pm, the DEC, VTrans and the Health Department will have representatives at the Clarendon Selectboard Meeting to discuss the detections of PFAS and the results of the expanded sampling. Members of the public are welcome to attend. The meeting will be held at the Clarendon Community Center, 111 Moulton Avenue in North Clarendon.

For questions about the health effects of PFAS, please call the Vermont Department of Health toll-free at 800-439-8550 or visit

Clarendon residents with questions or concerns should direct these to Michael Nahmias, Site Manager, at [email protected] or by phone at 802-522-4595.

For information about the continuing investigation at the Southwestern Vermont Regional Airport, please contact Andy Shively, VTrans Hazardous Materials Coordinator at [email protected] or by phone at 802-229-8740.

For more information on the test results and for additional guidance, please visit the DEC PFOA webpage at and click on the ‘Clarendon’ link.

Source: Department of Environmental Conservation 5.30.2018