Amid Contamination Concerns, Portsmouth and Greenland Ask N.H. to Pay Water Bills

Jun 13, 2017

The Coakley Landfill site
Credit Via USGS.gov

The city of Portsmouth and the town of Greenland are asking the state to help pay for public water at homes whose private wells may be at risk of water contamination.

Residents living near the Coakley Landfill in Greenland fear their private wells are drawing contaminated water from the superfund site which received municipal and industrial waste in the 70s and 80s.

Officials in Greenland had previously asked Portsmouth, which operates the only public well in Greenland, to extend water lines to about 300 homes near the landfill.

Now the two communities are teaming up. They’re asking the state to use about $17 million dollars from a settlement fund to extend the water lines. That fund was created by lawsuits over contamination from a chemical used in gasoline that contaminated groundwater across the state.

Jack Blalock is mayor of Portsmouth.

“The money is available from a contaminating source, the MtBe money is available. And this is the type of project that seems suitable, to use that money to ensure clean water for residents.”

The state Department of Environmental Services is currently testing monitoring wells at the site in an effort to map the boundaries of the contaminated water plume. No private wells have tested above state thresholds for unsafe levels of contaminants.