Drinking Water

Eversource/Business Wire

Eversource is currently trying to buy its second water company in the past year.

The region’s biggest electric utility hopes to provide water service to hundreds of thousands of customers across four New England states.

It would still be a small swath of the overall water system – but that could change. 

Joe Shlabotnik/flickr

Local water regulators from around the state will be in Concord on Thursday to talk about risks facing New Hampshire's drinking water system.

The state organizes the annual conference, focused on sustaining and protecting the state’s groundwater, with the American Ground Water Trust, a national nonprofit based in Concord.

The group’s executive director, Andrew Stone, says New Hampshire relies more on private or community wells than almost any other state – which makes safeguarding water supplies tricky.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

The state’s deal with the Saint Gobain plastics company to fix water pollution in southern New Hampshire is unprecedented in size – but officials say it doesn’t cover everything.

The deal was announced this week, and environmental regulators answered residents’ questions about it at a public meeting in Litchfield Thursday night.

Outside/In

There are 27 springs in New Hampshire that some Granite Staters use as their primary water source. NHPR's Outside/In visited these springs, and investigated the truth and myth behind the raw water movement. Why are some people turning to unfiltered water, and what should you know about spring drinking?  

Visit the Outside/In website to hear their episode, and subscribe to their podcast, and to see the test results for contaminants from three springs in New Hampshire. 

U.S. Geologic Survey

A new version of a bill in the state Legislature could require environmental officials to devise a stricter limit on arsenic in drinking water.

Rep. Mindi Messmer, a Rye Democrat, originally sponsored the proposal with what she admits was an unrealistically strict standard.

John K via Flickr CC

The town of Colebrook is the first to get money from a state trust fund for water infrastructure upgrades.

It comes from New Hampshire’s $236 million settlement with Exxon Mobil in 2015, over contamination from a gasoline additive known as MtBE.

FILE

A new report shows that recent PFOA water contamination in Merrimack does not appear to have resulted in higher cancer rates in town.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

 

The New Hampshire Senate on Thursday passed a bill designed to strengthen rules to prevent childhood lead poisoning.

 

The bill mandates lead testing for all New Hampshire kids aged 1 and 2, though parents can opt out. It also lowers the blood lead level where the state will intervene, and creates a loan fund to help landlords deal with lead paint issues. 

 

Pixabay

Legislators are considering sharply lowering how much arsenic New Hampshire allows in drinking water – but regulators said in a committee hearing Wednesday it'd be easier said than done.

Right now, New Hampshire uses the federal arsenic limit of 10 parts per billion in drinking water.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story reported that elevated PFCs were found in the Franklin Fire Department's drinking water. The chemicals were actually detected in a monitoring well at the department.

At least four New Hampshire fire departments have found an elevated level of toxic chemicals known as PFCs, either in their drinking water or in nearby monitoring wells.

Wikimedia Commons

The Exchange discussed New Hampshire's infrastructure issues over a series of shows this year. The American Society of Civil Engineers released their 2017 report card in March, giving New Hampshire a C- overall, with further grades for specific categories, including roads, dams, and drinking water.

Read on for highlights and links to each show, and also for links to additional coverage of New Hampshire's infrastructure. 

US EPA

The American Society of Civil Engineers recently gave the Granite State a C-minus on its 2017 report card...But aging systems, drought, and such contaminants as PFOAs raise questions about how best to repair our drinking water systems, and how to afford it. 


www.infrastructurereportcard.org

The American Society of Civil Engineers has released their 2017 report card on New Hampshire’s infrastructure -- and the state is far from the honor roll.

Under new federal legislation, the Environmental Protection Agency will work to deepen its understanding of 10 chemicals in commercial use. Topping that list is 1,4-dioxane, which has also been found in drinking water in a Hanover, New Hampshire, neighborhood. 

Water Contamination in N.H. Addressing PFOA

May 31, 2016
florianhuag / Flickr/CC

With new guidance from EPA on how much of the chemical is too much, and a lawsuit against the plastics plant that is its source, many Granite Staters are glad to see more action around the contamination. But others are still worried: both that the damage is already done, and that there's not enough assurance that it won't happen again.


Ceyhun (Jay) Isik / https://flic.kr/p/cG7qFL

In recent weeks, confusion and unease have increased in several New Hampshire towns where contamination with the chemical PFOA has been detected in private wells.

Though the EPA has yet to determine a safe level of PFOA in drinking water, Sarah Pillsbury, the administrator for public drinking water with the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, is hoping that's about to change. 

Shane Burkhardt via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/yZ34mF

For decades, environmentalists have fought to keep plastic, glass, paper and other recyclables out of landfills where they’d sit for thousands of years…so, is recycling truly making a difference in the health of the planet? Today, some data that challenges recycling’s sanctified status.

Then, India’s government says it will clean up the horribly polluted Ganges, the river which supports ten percent of the world’s population. The first step: working with the Hindu belief that the Ganges is holy, self-purifying and the place to be buried. 

Gloconda Beekman / Flickr/CC

After the Flint, Michigan water crisis, many around the country started taking a closer look their own water systems. And with a recent contamination scare in southern New Hampshire by the chemical PFOA  - the concerns have become local.  We'll look at the state's sources for drinking water, and the challenges to delivering it free from contaminants.

Joe Shlabotnik/flickr

A large turnout is expected for a meeting in Merrimack Wednesday night where state officials will update residents on their investigation into the chemical contamination of some local water supplies.

The state Department of Environmental Services has expanded the radius of its probe after three private wells tested for high levels of the chemical PFOA.

DES has now collected samples from approximately 100 private wells within a mile of the Saint-Gobain plastics plant in Merrimack, where the chemical was first detected.

https://flic.kr/p/fA6veL / Flickr Creative Commons

New Hampshire environmental regulators and realtors have reached an agreement on how to communicate the risks associated with Radon in drinking water.

Materials and fact sheets available from the Department of Environmental Services previously recommended that homeowners “test the indoor air for radon and consult with radon mitigation and water treatment providers” whenever radon exceeds 2,000 picocuries per liter in well water, which was the lowest advisory level in the United States.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

 

The governors of New Hampshire, New York and Vermont are urging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to review and issue new safe drinking water guidelines regarding an emerging contaminant that's shown up in water systems and in private wells.

They wrote to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy on Thursday asking for a review of the best available science regarding PFOA. It's part of a family of chemicals used to make nonstick cookware and stain-resistant carpeting.

Via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/7MMKBg

A long-running dispute between the real estate industry and the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services is back before the state legislature this year. Realtors have put forward a bill that would force the DES to get in line with federal standards when it comes to what's considered safe levels of radon in drinking water.

Logan Shannon / NHPR

The recent disintegration and crash of a Virgin Galactic suborbital space plane raised questions about the safety and viability of space tourism. On today’s show we consider another issue for commercial spaceflight….the psychological effects of leaving earth.

Then, we can all remember our favorite sports movies – but what about our favorite sports-based books? Bill Littlefield of NPR’s Only a Game talks about his favorite sportswriters, and reads from his new collection of athletics inspired poetry. 

Plus, a conversation with America’s only water sommelier. That’s right, water sommelier.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

Virtual Water Tasting With Sommelier Martin Riese

Dec 3, 2014
Martin Riese

Choosing from an expansive wine list can be a challenge, and as a result, many restaurants provide the services of a sommelier to help patrons choose. At Ray’s and Stark Bar, a restaurant at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, you can also enjoy the services of the country’s only water sommelier, Martin Riese.

Emre Ayaroglu via flickr Creative Commons

While the asteroid that killed off the dinosaurs may be most familiar, the earth has experienced five great extinctions, and we may be in the midst of the sixth…right here, right now. On today’s show: a startling account of the planet's biodiversity crisis, and the role humans have played in creating it.

Plus it’s easy to condemn the office gossip – but getting the inside scoop at work might just save your career. We’ll discuss why gossip can be good for you. And, America’s only water sommelier explains why his restaurant features a 44-page water menu.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

Brady Carlson, NHPR

A 16 year old inventor from New Hampshire has caught the attention of federal environmental officials.

Deepika Kurup of Nashua has won a President’s Environmental Youth Award from the White House Council on Environmental Quality and the Environmental Protection Agency for her work in finding sustainable ways to purify water.

She joined us to talk about her invention.

How does this method that you’ve developed work?

Dennis Amith via Flickr CC

The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services says there is $2.2 million available this fall for grants to protect drinking water in the southern part of the state.

The money comes from a fund established to offset impacts to wetlands and streams associated with the widening of Interstate 93 between the Massachusetts border in Salem and the I-93/I-293 interchange in Manchester.

New Data Stokes Concerns About N.H.'s Drinking Water

Jun 25, 2014
Bart / Flickr/CC

A recent survey of private wells in the Granite State found eighty thousand residents may be at risk of exposure to several toxins, including arsenic. Public water supplies, meanwhile, can be vulnerable to other forms of contamination and affected by severe weather from floods to droughts. We’ll look at these challenges, and possible solutions.

GUESTS:

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

This is the second of two stories about arsenic in well-water.

Almost twenty years ago, Joe Ayotte got a well drilled at his house in Concord.

“As you can see it’s a bit of a mud-pit, and it’s very red,” says Ayotte surveying the site of his artesian well, which has since been retired from service, but continues to leach iron-stained water onto his lawn.

Ayotte had some bad luck. The well must have hit what he calls “rotten rock” and brought up massive amounts of minerals in the water, including so much iron that it destroyed his fixtures.

Dave G / Flickr CC

There are basically two options: the state lab and private well testers.

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