N.H. Asks Local Fire Depts. To Test Wells For Contaminants That Could Spread To Nearby Homes

Nov 30, 2017

The state has asked New Hampshire fire departments that use private wells to test their drinking water for a toxic chemical.

Any positive results could lead to more investigation of residential wells nearby. (Scroll down to read the letter sent to fire departments in October.)

The Department of Environmental Services wants fire stations to test for perflourinated chemicals, or PFCs. They're found in lots of man-made stuff, they don't break down, and some studies have linked them to cancer and other health problems.

One use for PFCs is in some firefighting foams. That's less common now, but it's why the DES is looking for the chemicals in and around fire departments' wells.

"It's part of the agency's effort to do due diligence around the state and follow where data is leading us," says DES spokesman Jim Martin.

Martin says six of seven departments sampled up until now had elevated PFC levels in their water. Four wells tested more recently came back negative.

Read the letter sent to fire departments by NHDES on October 2: