Bennington Municipal Water Line Extension
When PFOA, a known carcinogen, was discovered in the well water of hundreds of residents in Bennington, VT, in 2016, 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.
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.
Days after being brought in by the Town as a consulting engineer, MSK’s Jason Dolmetsch 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. Despite the complexity and scale of the project, the Town was convinced and moved forward with the plan.
After several months of work to fully develop the project proposal, the State of Vermont approved MSK’s plan to connect the entire rural western sector of town to the municipal water system. As part of the design phase, MSK carried out an extended period simulation model of the water system to demonstrate to the State of Vermont that disinfection byproducts would be properly managed in the new system.
The west end extension was completed in 2019. The east end extension—developed following further discover of PFOA—is expected to be completed in 2021. Almost all construction costs have been covered by a settlement with Saint-Gobain, the owner of the property where the PFOA contamination was produced.