Officials Give Update on Contamination at Coakley Superfund Site

Nov 16, 2017

The meeting drew dozens of local residents and several elected officials, including Representatives Phil Bean, Renny Cushing, and Mindi Messmer.
Credit Jason Moon for NHPR

State and federal environmental officials held a meeting in North Hampton Wednesday night to update residents on efforts to address contamination at the former Coakley landfill site.

For three hours, scientists with the EPA and the state Department of Environmental Services laid out the work that has been done and that will be done to monitor and address contaminated water at a former landfill on the Seacoast.

The Coakley landfill, now a superfund site, was shut down decades ago, but perfleurochemicals, or PFCs, were only recently detected there. PFCs have been tentatively linked to a number of adverse health effects, including cancer.

The EPA says in the short term the site poses no unacceptable risks to human health, but adds that more study is needed to know if that holds true for the long term.

For some who attended the meeting concerned about PFC contamination in their drinking water, like Lisa Moll of Rye, that was cold comfort.

“Every meeting I’ve gone to for the last year-and-a-half now, I hear how we need more studying and more analysis," Moll said. "There’s so much inconsistent messaging going on that we as residents are completely confused.”

The EPA says it understands the concerns of local residents and is working as fast as it can to fully understand the situation.