Weeks heralds PFOA remediation plan and calls for further action to address water contamination in NH


LITCHFIELD, NH - Executive Council candidate and good-government advocate Dan Weeks (D-Nashua) on Monday applauded Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics for agreeing to fund remediation of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) water contamination for up to 360 homes and businesses in the vicinity of its Merrimack facility, and reiterated his prior calls on the company to comprehensively address health and property value concerns.

The NH Department of Environmental Services (DES) and Saint-Gobain recently announced that Saint-Gobain will work with Pennichuck Corporation to extend the Litchfield Public Water System to residents whose private wells have been affected by the contamination. The timing and cost of the project will depend upon the bids received, according to state officials.

"It has been nearly six months since NHDES initiated its investigation into PFOA contamination of drinking water in southern New Hampshire, and many years since the contamination problem began," Weeks said. "I applaud state and local officials for their dedication to understanding and addressing the problem, in spite of resource limitations, and am pleased that Saint-Gobain has agreed to fund public water extension as a long-term solution. Nevertheless, more work needs to be done – and fast – to protect the health and economic wellbeing of affected residents in Merrimack, Litchfield, and surrounding towns."

On August 10th, Weeks issued a public request for Saint-Gobain to commit to fully funding permanent remediation in the form of public water extension to affected homes and businesses, as well as four related health and water costs. Weeks urged that Saint-Gobain and Pennichuck Corporation proceed as quickly as possible in the bidding process so progress is made in restoring safe drinking water during the current construction season. Weeks also the reiterated his August 10th request that Saint-Gobain cover the four outstanding expense items not included in its recent announcement. 

 

  • Provision of public water for affected homes, businesses, and towns for a minimum of 20 years (to account for unforeseen water expenses resulting from contamination of private wells)
  • Blood testing for residents in affected areas, as approved by the NH Executive Council in July and provided by the NH Department of Health and Human Services at taxpayer expense
  • Remediation efforts for affected groundwater and soils, to be determined in consultation with NHDES and the affected towns
  • Evaluation of the effects on local private property values of the new public water system replacing private wells

Weeks concluded with a call on Saint-Gobain to work with concerned citizens in Merrimack and surrounding towns whose public water currently tests below the 70 parts-per-trillion (ppt) PFOA concentration threshold established by the EPA but above the more precautionary 20 ppt threshold used by the state of Vermont. 

Weeks concluded, "Since I began attending public information sessions in Merrimack and Litchfield on the water contamination issue, I have heard from local residents with young children who are deeply concerned about their families' health as well as effects on property values and the community at large. Their voices deserve to be heard and I will continue to do all I can to ensure the responsible parties respond appropriately."

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