PFOA

Ceyhun (Jay) Isik / Flickr Creative Commons

A Senate advisory commission next month will choose to fund several major projects improving drinking water across New Hampshire communities.

More than $200 million from a settlement with Exxon-Mobil over MTBE contamination has been set aside for funding these projects.

Robert Scott is the commissioner of the Department of Environmental Services. He’s also on the Drinking Water and Groundwater Advisory Commission. Morning Edition Host Rick Ganley spoke with him about issues with drinking water in the state.


Weekly N.H. News Roundup: October 13, 2017

Oct 13, 2017

Gov. Sununu nominates House Speaker Shawn Jasper to be the next Commissioner of Agriculture. Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter announces she won't run for re-election, and speculation begins on who might run for the first congressional district seat. State health official say residents on public water in Merrimack and Bedford have been exposed to toxic chemicals. And the state and EPA differ on the risks posed by a superfund site in North Hampton. 


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Bedford lawmakers are urging Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics to connect properties with contaminated wells to a municipal water system.

Bedford residents are still using bottled water 18 months after finding out their private wells are contaminated with PFOA.

The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services requested Saint-Gobain put in place a public water treatment system for the affected properties in April 2016.

Cleaning Up New Hampshire's Contaminated Water

Aug 11, 2017
US Air Force

Last spring, the chemical PFOA was found in unusually high levels in wells in Southern New Hampshire, and, before that, on the Seacoast. Since then, the state has allocated millions to study and fix these sites, but critics worry the guidelines for contaminated water, and the work being done, aren't enough.  


Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen is pushing for a national health study on the health effects of perfluorochemicals – the same chemicals that contaminated drinking water at the former Pease Air Force Base in Portsmouth.

In an amendment to a $700 billion military spending bill, Senator Sheehan is hoping to fund a $7 million national health study about the effects of perfluorochemicals, or PFCS.

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. 


FLORIANHUAG / FLICKR/CC

The Senate Finance Committee approved a measure Wednesday to help Amherst residents get access to clean drinking water.

According to the Assistant Environment Services Commissioner Clark Freise, more than 100 homes in the town have been contaminated by the chemical PFOA.

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

 

The state Department of Environmental Services is continuing to test water after a potentially cancer-causing chemical was found in wells and drinking water near the Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics facility in Merrimack earlier this year.

Well and groundwater tests conducted in Merrimack and Litchfield had revealed elevated levels of PFOA, or perfluorooctanoic acid, used in Teflon coatings, for more than one-and-a-half miles around the facility.

Weekly N.H. News Roundup: December 23, 2016

Dec 22, 2016

It’s our year-end review of the top 2016 news stories in New Hampshire, from politics to precipitation. It was a year in which PFOA. became a household term in many communities, the First In the Nation presidential primary seemed to last forever, and fentanyl made its mark, causing a steep increase in overdose deaths.  We'll also discuss this week's alarming report on the state's child protective services agency.


The Conservation Law Foundation is suing the Pease Development Authority over water contamination issues at the former Pease Air Force base in Portsmouth.

The Conservation Law Foundation says the Pease Development Authority failed to seek required federal storm water runoff permits from the Environmental Protection Agency.

Conservation Law Foundation lawyer Tom Irwin says the federal Clean Water Act requires the PDA to have a storm water runoff management plan.

File Photo

After more than a decade on the job, the head of New Hampshire’s Department of Environmental Services is ready to step down.

John K via Flickr CC

Two-hundred randomly selected public water customers in Merrimack will get their blood tested for PFOA. That’s the contaminant found in drinking water near the Saint-Gobain plastics plant.

Jack Rodolico

Just as the school year began, the Manchester School District announced there was lead in the drinking water at some of its schools.

That contamination is now cleaned up. But in the aftermath of Flint, Michigan’s massive drinking water crisis, this small scare in Manchester highlights a concern among New Hampshire’s public health officials: there is no comprehensive lead testing done on drinking water in schools across the state.

Comstock/Thinkstock

As New Hampshire regulators consider adopting the EPA’s PFOA health advisory as the state’s enforceable standard, a New Jersey committee has recommended setting a much lower standard in that state.

The Conservation Law Foundation says it will file two lawsuits against the Pease Development Authority over stormwater discharges, which the foundation alleges contains high levels of the chemical contaminants PFOA and PFOS.

Epa.gov

Residential water sources near a Superfund site on the Seacoast have tested below the state’s standard for perfluorichemicals - including PFOA. Earlier tests at the site showed PFCs at levels significantly higher than the state standard.

Sixteen residential wells near the former Coakley landfill were tested for perfluorichemicals following the discovery of those contaminants in monitoring wells at the landfill earlier this year. All of the residential wells tested showed PFC levels below the recently established state standard.

 

 

New Hampshire health officials say residents whose drinking water supply has been contaminated with PFCs can get their blood tested.

The Executive Council has approved contracts with Southern New Hampshire Medical Center and Portsmouth Regional Hospital, which will start drawing blood for perfluorochemicals on Thursday.

The drinking water on the Pease Tradeport and some private wells in Southern New Hampshire have been contaminated with PFCs above the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Lifetime Health Advisory level of 70 parts per trillion.

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

State officials held a public meeting Wednesday evening in Merrimack to update residents on the steps they’re taking to address groundwater contamination linked to the Saint-Gobain plastics plant.

But many residents were less than satisfied with the answers they got.

This was the latest meeting between officials and residents of Merrimack and surrounding towns impacted by contamination from the chemical PFOA, which has been linked to several health problems, including cancer.

The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services says that it has temporarily expanded its bottled water delivery to people in Amherst who may have the potentially cancer-causing chemicals PFOA and PFOS in their private water wells.

DES says it made the decision because tests confirmed the existence of the chemicals in some wells at greater than 70 parts per trillion. Repeat testing confirmed the results.

The properties in Amherst that will receive bottled water delivery fall within a half-mile radius of the former location of Textiles Coated International.

Jason Moon for NHPR

State health officials held a meeting in Portsmouth Thursday night to discuss the results of over 1500 blood tests from people exposed to contaminated water at the former Pease Air Force base.

Emily Corwin

  A new kind of water contamination has shown up all over the US, including New England. This time it’s not lead, like in the Flint, Michigan water system, but instead it's a chemical used to manufacture Teflon pans, firefighting foam, even microwave popcorn bags. It's forced some communities to hand out bottled water and shut down their water systems.

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.


kconnors / Morguefile

The United States Supreme Court has rejected ExxonMobil’s appeal of a $236 million verdict in a case brought against the oil company by the state of New Hampshire.

The legal battle began more than a decade ago when the state Attorney General sued 22 oil companies for using a chemical called MtBE, which can contaminate soil and drinking water.

Richard Head was an Associate Attorney General at the time and now works for SL Environmental Law Group, which worked with the state on the suit. He spoke with NHPR’s All Things Considered host Peter Biello.

 

New Hampshire officials say they've found a potentially cancer-causing chemical in Merrimack's former landfill but cannot say whether it has contaminated nearby private wells.

The announcement Tuesday is the latest evidence the chemical PFOA is more widespread in New Hampshire than initially thought. The chemical was first found in more than 50 wells in towns surrounding the Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics facility in Merrimack and has since been found in 11 private wells near a former manufacturing site in Amherst.

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New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services officials say residents of roughly 400 homes affected by PFOA contamination may need to drink bottled water all summer.

NHDES Website

  The state says residents who have questions or concerns about PFOA exposure can call a public inquiry line starting today. 

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

 

  A top Environmental Protection Agency official says her office will soon release new information about a potential cancer-causing chemical that has been found in drinking water in two New Hampshire towns.

Flickr/Håkan Dahlström

With concern growing about the chemical known as PFOA contaminating drinking water systems in southern New Hampshire, residents are now looking for ways to test their own water.

State environmental officials are testing private wells near the Saint-Gobain plastics plant in Merrimack, but many outside that one-mile radius want to know if their water is safe to drink.

It turns out, however, there are no labs here in New Hampshire that test for the chemical, which some studies have linked to certain types of cancer.

Steven Depolo/Flickr

Distribution of bottled water continues Monday for residents of Merrimack and Litchfield whose wells may be contaminated with the chemical known as PFOA.

The state is offering a month’s worth of water to all 400 homeowners within a one-mile radius of the Saint-Gobain Plastics Plants in Merrimack.

State environmental officials say the plant is the likely source of high levels of PFOA that’s been found in nearby wells.

Distribution of water began Sunday, and continues Monday at the Litchfield Transfer Station between noon and 7 p.m.

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