- Associated Press - Monday, February 29, 2016

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) - The state of Vermont is going to test an additional 80 to 100 private water wells in the North Bennington area after earlier tests found varying levels of a toxic chemical in five wells in the community, Gov. Peter Shumlin said Monday.

No contamination was found in the area’s public water source in the same tests, whose results were announced last week.

The potentially cancer-causing chemical, known as PFOA, was found after Vermont officials heard news reports about contamination in nearby Hoosick Falls, New York.

Vermont officials say they don’t know the source of the contamination, but they note it’s the same chemical that was found at an industrial plant in Hoosick Falls, and the same chemical was used at one time in a now-closed plant in North Bennington.

The wells to be tested are in a 1 1/2-mile radius surrounding the former Chem Fab plant in North Bennington.

Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics, a producer of high-performance polymer products, owns the New York factory believed to be responsible for the contamination in Hoosick Falls.

The company, part of Paris-based Saint-Gobain Corp., acquired the North Bennington plant in 2000 and closed it in 2002, said it would pay for bottled water and filtering systems for the affected locations and any others that might be found in the future.

Officials say residents with wells being tested should not drink the water while results are pending. Bottled water will be provided.

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