Tainted Water Leads to Addison County Concern

Published 05/08 2014 06:32PM

Updated 05/08 2014 07:12PM

MONKTON, Vt. - A Monkton family's well water is now contaminated and unsafe to drink.

"We first became aware of it, when the landowner reported it to the town," Monkton Selectboard Chair Stephen Pilcher said.

That was in late April when the homeowner complained her water smelled and had an oily sheen. Since then tests conducted by the state toxicologist confirm the water contains an unsafe level of pesticides. Those pesticides, used to prevent wood decay on power poles around Vermont, somehow became released when Vermont Electric Power Company replaced a nearby pole. VELCO says it was "surprised" by the contamination. A spokeswoman says it's never happened before.

"There was a meeting that occurred with VELCO employees as well as a representative of the department of hazardous waste and prevention," Pilcher says.

The homeowner, who didn't want to talk about the issue with us, was also there. VELCO says it’s replacing the well this week to ensure clean water for the family, and will continue testing.

"Our understanding is that they're going to actually do some sampling of other poles," Pilcher said.

VELCO tells us this project is in no way related to the future construction of the Addison County natural gas pipeline, however, since the pipeline and these power poles are going to be so close together the town of Monkton now wants to know if this contamination could become a bigger problem in the future.

"For the majority of the travel through Monkton the pipeline does follow the VELCO right of way, so we're very interested to see if there's any chance," Pilcher said.

Vermont Gas spokesman Steve Wark says he's aware of the issue, but for now it only involves VELCO. He remains confident the pipeline will not pose more health hazards.

"It is very close to the edge of the easement, far enough away from VELCO's infrastructure so there should be no impact whatsoever," Wark said.

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