Project Description

Bennington Municipal Water Line Extension



In 2016, following the discovery of PFOA in groundwater in Hoosick Falls, residents of the west end of Bennington began asking the State of Vermont to test their well water, given their proximity to a former CHEMFAB Industries plant that manufactured PFOA-containing products. The State discovered more than 400 contaminated wells. Town officials recognized that they needed to respond to this discovery without delay. In a matter of days, MSK provided the Town with a comprehensive proposal to extend the Town’s municipal water lines to affected residences. The plan called for the construction of 8 miles of new main and associated individual service lines. Much of the water line extension would reach into higher-elevation rural areas and would require costly technical solutions. Despite the complexity and scale of the project, the Town, facing a public health mandate, moved forward with the plan.


The most comprehensive solution, extending the municipal water system into a semirural low-pressure zone, was going to be highly complex. The solution would have to involve a sophisticated engineering approach. Time was of the essence. The Town of Bennington needed to find a feasible, long-term approach to the contamination problem—but the solution to such a large-scale problem was not immediately clear. On the line were public trust, public health, and property values.


We provided the Town with a preliminary engineering report, including cost projections. The State of Vermont requested additional work to determine if the Town’s current water supply would be sufficient to serve the new connections. The State also asked the Town to examine whether water quality could be maintained in the new line, given that the formation of disinfection by-products is positively correlated with residence time, which would be longer in this extension to low-usage areas. MSK addressed these concerns by developing an extended period simulation model that calculated water aging as well as the influence of the water source. The State approved our plan to connect the entire rural western sector of town to the municipal water system. We obtained necessary easements from landowners, carried out all right-of-way surveys, and provided construction observation and administration services. Construction was completed in 2019.

Following our mapping of all of the water valves in water system, the Town hired us to design a replacement for an aging cast iron water main in the heart of the town’s commercial district. The main was located directly under the crown of the state highway and was flanked on both sides by sewer mains. We surveyed and secured private easements along the mile-long stretch of main. We developed existing conditions drawings, completed a phased design plan, and oversaw bidding. Construction was completed over 5 seasons, keeping annual municipal outlays within the capital improvements budget and avoiding bond financing. In the course of providing construction administration services, MSK coordinated nightly shutdowns with private landowners, observed directional drilling under the state highway, and the observed installation of a new pressure-reducing valve vault.

So far, approximately $20 million in settlement funds from negotiations between Saint-Gobain and the State of Vermont have been placed in escrow to fund project construction. On behalf of the Town, we managed all disbursements and associated accounting, including billing, contractor payments, and record keeping. Our services allowed the Town to focus its resources on a range of other priorities while making timely contractor payment more straightforward.

At a Glance
  • Project dates: 20160-2021
  • Services: Environmental, design, permitting, sub-consultant coordination, construction administration, site survey, funding support, regulatory assistance
  • Market: Government
  • State: Vermont
  • Contract amount: $25 million over 9 contracts
  • Length of new water main: 17 miles
  • Residences connected: 397