My letter to the editor was published yesterday in the Eagle Tribune!
I also sent this to all of our NH Senators on Wednesday. For Senator Chuck Morse, who represents our town, I also had a different version, longer and more specific to Salem.
I am so thrilled that the work of NH State Rep. Mindi Messmer and the team of New Hampshire Safe Water Alliance paid off: The NH Senate voted UNANIMOUSLY to pass HB463 as Amended. Congratulations, Mindi et al.
Here’s what I sent to Senator Morse:
Dear Senator Morse,
I support HB463 as amended, “regulating groundwater pollution caused by polluting emissions in the air and relative to standards for emerging contaminants in drinking water.” I urge NH legislators to support this important bill as amended.
As a grandmother of a child growing up in this community, and three others growing up elsewhere in New Hampshire, I am frustrated with what my State is doing to protect our children.
In recent times, various New Hampshire towns have made the news due to water issues. Even Salem has had its own water concerns this past year. The drought last summer, and the ensuing water ban, helped us forget about the discovery of elevated levels of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), which were detected in monitoring wells at the LL&S Landfill on Lowell Road.
Until recently PFCs were not tested. NH follows the federal guidelines established by the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA), which allows up to 70 parts per trillion in our drinking water. Other states think that number is too high. A few examples: The state of Vermont lowered its drinking water standard to 20 ppt,. New Jersey is working on a state standard of 14 ppt, while Pennsylvania is proposing a state standard of 5 ppt. These states are doing this to better protect human health.
The Department of Environmental Services (DES) found PFOA concentrations ranging from 2.5 to 560 parts per trillion (ppt) at test wells on the landfill property. They also found PFOS concentrations ranging between 1.3 to 260 ppt.
As a safety precaution, nearby wells were tested, and, fortunately, perfluorochemicals (PFCs) were not found above levels within accepted safe guidelines (PFOA was identified at 4ppt or less and PFOS was found at 6 ppt or less). The water treatment plant at Canobie Lake Water Treatment Plant tested for PFOA levels at greater than 20 and PFOS levels at greater than 40, tested negative in four months between February and November 2013. It does not appear to have been tested since, nor does it appear to have been tested for levels lower than those older benchmarks.
The EPA and others reference studies indicating that exposure to PFOA and PFOS over certain levels may result in adverse health effects, including developmental effects to fetuses during pregnancy or to breastfed infants (e.g., low birth weight, accelerated puberty, skeletal variations), pregnancy-induced hypertension and preeclampsia, cancer (testicular, kidney), liver damage, immune effects (e.g., antibody production and immunity), thyroid effects and other effects (cholesterol changes).”
Salem is probably lucky … at least for now. Other towns have not fared so well.
New Hampshire children — and adults — deserve better.
Governor Sununu has stated, “Clean drinking water is a top priority for all Granite Staters.” This amendment to House Bill 463 would support his priority.
I respectfully urge the NH Senate, under your guidance, to keep this in mind as they address HB464 as amended. I also thank Salem Representative Gary Azarian, for being a co-sponsor of this bill.
Here’s the shorter version:
And the article from today’s Union Leader: