White River Junction waits for clean-up of toxic vapors

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Residents in White River Junction, Vt., are upset that the state knew about contamination from a former dry-cleaning business but didn’t tell them until years later.

The state discovered unsafe levels of the chemical perchloroethylene in well water at the site of the former business in 1989. Neighboring homes are on town water, so their drinking water was safe, but the chemical also produces vapors strong enough to seep into the basements and first floors of homes.

The state didn’t learn about the vapors until 2006, and it immediately installed venting equipment in eight homes. Five of them still show chemical levels above the state standard, and residents complain that they should have been told about the contamination sooner.

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