Southern NH Contaminated Water

Another nearby town — Windham — has been found to have perfluorochemicals (PFCs), including PFOA and PFOS, in drinking water wells. Following contamination issues in Merrimack and Litchfield, and isolated contamination here in Salem, as well as several other NH towns, this keeps coming too close to home.

Salem is probably lucky … at least for now. Other towns have not fared so well.

(The press release re: Windham can be found, below.)

Why is this important to Salem (and all NH) residents?

The EPA and others reference studies indicating that exposure to perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (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).

We have had water concerns here in Salem … just one year ago.

For more info about PFCs, including PFOA and PFOS:

Related: HB463
I am so thrilled that the work of my friend, NH State Rep. Mindi Messmer, and the team of New Hampshire Safe Water Alliance paid off: The NH Senate recently voted UNANIMOUSLY to pass HB463 as Amended. Now it goes to a Committee on Conference on Tuesday, where the two chambers will decide whether to accept the amendment, reject the amendment, or reject the bill. Fingers crossed for Tuesday that the amendment will be approved!

My letter to the Editor and Senator Morse re: water contamination and HB463:

DATE: June 9, 2017
CONTACT: Jim Martin, (603) 271-3710

Several Well Water Results from Windham Contain Elevated Concentrations of PFCs

Concord, NH – Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) announced today that it has received drinking water well results for several properties in the Lexington and Ledge Road area of Windham, New Hampshire that showed elevated concentrations of perfluorochemicals (PFCs), including perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). NHDES initiated testing in this area based on information related to industrial use of PFCs at Central Metal Finishing, Inc., located on Lexington Road. Four wells have tested above the state Ambient Groundwater Quality Standard (AGQS) of 70 parts per trillion (ppt), ranging in concentrations of 70.4 ppt to 396 ppt.

NHDES has collected additional drinking water well samples in the area and is working closely with the Town of Windham on reaching out to property owners who have been unresponsive to initial requests to test their wells. Additionally, NHDES has worked closely with the Windham School Administrative Unit (SAU) to test the Windham Schools given their proximity to the area being investigated. PFOS and PFOA were not detected at the Windham High School. Analysis of the Center School samples detected low concentrations of both PFOA and PFOS. The levels detected in two separate tests of the Center School well were 21.5 parts per trillion (ppt) of both PFOA and PFOS combined, and 17.29 ppt. Although no action is required to mitigate PFCs found in the school drinking water below the state standard, the SAU, working in conjunction with NHDES, has developed a well-monitoring plan and has researched water treatment options for the Center School.