Statement of Executive Council Candidate Dan Weeks re: Water Contamination in Merrimack and Litchfield, NH

I am deeply concerned about the recent revelations of perfluorooctanoic (PFOA) chemical contamination in all twelve of the wells initially tested by the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (DES) in Merrimack and Litchfield, New Hampshire near the Saint-Gobain Plastics plant in Merrimack. According to DES, several of the wells tested contained more than 100 parts per trillion of PFOA, prompting DES to supply bottled water to the affected homes. DES has expanded its investigation by testing more than 100 private drinking wells in close proximity to the Saint-Gobain plant. Results of those tests are anticipated next week.

Chemical contamination of our public and private wells is a major public health concern, especially after the shocking revelations of lead contamination in Flint, MI and other communities around the country. Studies have found increased PFOA levels in the blood correspond to adverse health effects, including kidney and testicular cancer. Similar water contamination in the vicinity of Saint-Gobain plants in VT and NY suggests a pattern of environmental neglect and disregard for public health by the company. If confirmed, such violations demand a strong and swift response. We cannot have private companies putting profit ahead of public health.

I encourage fellow citizens to join me in asking tough questions of officials at a public hearing this Thursday at 7PM at Litchfield Middle School, or attend a similar public learing tonight at 7pm at the James Mastricola Upper Elementary School in Merrimack.

More information available on NHPR.