On April 19, 2018

Rutland Region News Briefs – April 18

Clarendon’s water concerns differ from Bennington’s

CLARENDON— Water well contamination by the manmade chemicals in the PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) family in Clarendon is far different from that discovered in Bennington in 2012, according to Chuck Schwer, waste management and prevention division director of the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).

He expects to find no contamination, after finding only two damaged wells near Rutland-Southern Vermont Regional Airport, and those only slightly elevated, with one slightly over Vermont’s very strict threshold and the other one below. Water from the two wells that tested positive for PFAS will be improved with the installation of a carbon-based filter system. The system serves eight businesses in the area.

The Clarendon contamination is believed to be from PFAS-containing firefighting foam used on an Aug. 7, 1986, plane crash off the west end of the east-west runway.at the site. Firefighting foam containing the chemicals is also used for occasional training sessions. In contrast, the North Bennington water contamination is believed to have come from chemically treated fabric producer ChemFab in North Bennington.

None of the half-dozen samples from private wells along Route 7B have yielded the contaminants, Schwer told the Rutland Herald. A few private wells west of the business park remain to be tested; the department had announced plans to test them the week of April 9.

Hazardous site manager Michael Nahmias and Schwer promised some 25 Clarendon residents at the April 9 town Select Board meeting that the state plans additional testing in residential neighborhoods close to Route 7B.

Residents seemed unlikely to be satisfied with the state’s intended solution. They questioned whether the state could be sure the PFAS came from the 32-year-old accident and what may be the long-term effect of the site’s drainage into Mill River and adjoining wetlands west of the airport. They wanted to know whether people who work or worked in the business park should have their blood tested for PFOA levels.

Town Select Board chair Michael Klopcin expressed disappointment that the state had not informed the town that contamination was a problem before he read about it in local media.

The state intends to test the affected wells again soon, examining especially whether there is any difference in the contamination level. Schwer said the state is already engaged in tracking the foam’s use to see its effect, noting that Bethel, Rochester, and Chester sites that used the foam have shown no contamination, but that PFAS contamination was found at the Vermont Air National Guard site in Burlington and the Vermont firefighters’ training area in Pittsford.

Business bits

Congratulations to Best of Business winners Heritage Family Credit Union, Best Western Inn & Suites, Bank of Bennington, Roots the Restaurant, Franklin Conference Center, Rutland Country Club, Vermont Sport & Fitness, Speakeasy Café, Table 24, Vibe Commercial Imaging, NBF Architects, Rob Stubbins Electric, Carpenter & Costin, Awesome Graphics, Davis & Hodgdon Associates CPAs, Casella Waste Management, The Richards Group, Symquest, and Rutland Young Professionals.

University of Vermont Farm Business Specialists Mark Cannella, Tony Kitsos, and Betsy Miller offer to help farmers learn better business management techniques on a one-to-one basis. Among the management tools they teach are developing a balance sheet, updating financial statements, reviewing a business plan, and more. Call Christi Sherlock, 773-3349, to register for a 90-minute appointment.

The Rutland Area Food Co-Op membership will vote June 6 on transitioning from a two percent membership discount to a patronage system. With two profitable years already, the co-op is primed to grow in the future.

To diet or not to diet – roads, that is

The pressure is off for now on deciding whether to reduce the number of lanes on Route 4A between Center Rutland and West Rutland. The Agency of Transportation announced it would delay repaving that section of pavement until 2019.

The delay gives West Rutland and Rutland Town’s select boards more time to review a pair of plans for road redevelopment. The concern is whether the road should have two lanes of traffic in each direction, or slim down to three lanes. West Rutland’s Select Board has favored the three-lane approach, while Rutland Town’s board last voted 3-2 for the four-lane layout.

The two select boards may draw on recommendations made in the 2016 Smart Growth Connection Plan by Broadreach Planning & Design and the January 2017 report generated by Weston & Sampson of Albany, N.Y.

Those recommendations include reducing the lane number, adding bus stops, upgrading cycling opportunities, increasing the number of crosswalks, and paying tribute to the area’s marble industry heritage by using marble where possible, the Rutland Herald reported.

The Rutland Town Planning Commission will meet for public discussion of the plans May 3 and 27 at the town office, chair Barbara Noyes-Pulling said April 10.

Each recommendation will receive individual consideration, using “uniform transparent evaluation process” and report on those that receive the highest score to the Select Board, with the road diet being just one of more than 30 recommendations.

Rutland Town Select Board Chair Joshua Terenzini believes there must be a way to keep the four lanes, but prefaces that stand with commenting the towns should not be “bogged down” because they disagree about the number of lanes.

No automatic appointment for interim alderman

Recent candidate for Rutland City alderman Jack Crowther has expressed interest in becoming appointed to the seat on the city’s Board of Aldermen. Although Crowther received the highest number of votes without being elected to the board, Mayor Allaire is under no obligation to choose the former Rutland Herald editor for the position.

Although Crowther has strongly expressed his objection to fluoridation of the city’s water supply, he told the Rutland Herald April 6 that he would not be a one-issue board member, a position he also took during his campaign prior to the March 6 election. He said he is willing to do the work necessary to be an alderman.

Board president Sharon Davis, elected to her 14th term as alderman on Town Meeting Day, said she has been in office during seven other appointments to the board. She said an appointee should be someone who wants to serve the community, has no specific agenda, and is willing to put the time into serving the community.

When an individual is nominated, the board will table the nomination until its next meeting, giving each current member an opportunity to speak with the nominee before voting whether to approve the nomination.

Rutland City schools poised to enter summer break improvement mode

While school is closed for summer recess is the best time that workers can make major improvements and repairs. Among the projects planned for the summer of 2018 in Rutland City schools are replacing cracked windows and seals in Rutland High’s Red Wing; replacing flooring tile in Rutland High and third floor carpeting in Rutland Intermediate; installing air conditioning in the third floor server room in Rutland Intermediate; stripping, sanding, and repairing flooring plus applying a poly top coat in Keefe Gymnasium; replacing cabinets, counter tops, and sinks in Rutland Middle School’s science wing; replacing ceilings and floors in Stafford Technical Center’s office; and installing a Boosters-funded electronic marquee. Along with all these improvements, the “standard items” continue to receive attention: painting; repairing floors and windows, deep cleaning, and ground work.

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