Addison County, Vermont, is on an accelerated witch hunt for potential contamination sources so it can maintain its low level of toxic contamination, and can take advantage of $100,000 in Environmental Protection Agency funds that will only be available until the end of June.
In the crosshairs are abandoned tanks and other brownfield types of sites that harbor petroleum, pesticides, cleaning solvents and heavy metals. So far, 214 sites have been identified, but the Addison County Regional Planning Commission (ACRPC) says sites often are not known about because fuel tanks are buried underground and the owners may not have seen evidence of leaks. Other reasons cited for unknown contamination include people not knowing about the ACRPS program and those who just don’t want to know.
Vermont has 1,421 hazardous waste sites that include places such as schools, gas stations, salvage yards and landfills. Most of the contamination in the state comes from petroleum products because those tanks have traditionally been buried underground. When leaks happen they can be small and can go unnoticed for decades as they gradually contaminate the soil and groundwater. Properties that qualify for cleanup help are those where the owners did not contribute to the contamination and where there are plans for redevelopment into useful functions.
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