Bedford Residents May Get Uncontaminated Water From Manchester

Jan 12, 2018

Bedford residents who have been drinking bottled water since 2016 because of contamination linked to Saint Gobain Plastics in Merrimack asked questions at a public meeting Thursday night about plans to replace their water supply.
Credit Annie Ropeik for NHPR

State officials say they're close to finalizing a deal that would bring clean water to Bedford residents whose wells have been contaminated with toxic chemicals called PFCs since 2016.

The contamination likely came from air emissions at the nearby Saint Gobain Plastics Plant. Since then, many residents have been drinking bottled water as they wait for Saint Gobain to pay to connect them to Manchester's water system.

That deal has been delayed since last year amid negotiations over what homes should be included. The state expects Saint Gobain to agree to include all the affected homes by the end of next month. If not, the next step could be suing.

“We've made it extremely clear that we consider all the disputed areas to be in the design and we expect them to sign on to some solution by the end of February, or we're going to use the other tools that we've got available to us,” said Clark Freise, the state’s assistant Environmental Services commissioner, at a community meeting with a few dozen Bedford residents Thursday night.

The meeting also covered results from blood tests, done last fall and already announced in other nearby towns. They show residents who live closer to Saint Gobain are more likely to have elevated levels of certain PFCs in their blood.

Some studies have linked PFCs to cancer and other issues. They were commonly used into recent decades in a range of manmade, household products.