Emergency Rule Means N.H. Can Regulate PFOA and PFOS

May 31, 2016

Credit Ian Sane / flickr, creative commons

  The federal government does not regulate PFOA and PFOS -- the contaminants found in drinking water in Southern New Hampshire and on the former Pease Air Force Base. But as of today, they are regulated in New Hampshire.

That’s because the state’s environmental regulator has filed an emergency rule giving the state new authority over contaminated water.  

It means municipal water suppliers will have to maintain water with fewer than 70 parts per trillion of either or both of these contaminants. The state also has the authority to direct water filtration and other fixes at contaminated sites.

The emergency rule comes more than a week after the EPA released a new health advisory level of 70 parts per trillion for these contaminants in drinking water.

The emergency rule lasts 180 days. In the meantime, the state will begin the process to establish a long-term water quality standard, including opportunities for public comment. "We will take into consideration all public comments," says Jim Martin of the Department of Environmental Security. However, "we have to be respectful of the law."

NHDES is bound by state statute to adopt ambient groundwater quality standards equivalent to federal advisory levels, "where federal maximum contaminant level or health advisories have been promulgated under the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act."