News from the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services

DATE: March 31, 2016
CONTACT: Jim Martin, 603 271-3710

Updated Drinking Water Well Test Results for Southern N.H. PFOA Investigation

Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) announced updated drinking water well test results for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) in Merrimack and Litchfield, New Hampshire.

Test Results: NHDES has received a total of 107 drinking water test results to date. The water well samples were collected between March 9 and March 20. The results show levels of PFOA ranging from no detection to 830 parts per trillion. Of the results received, 26 private wells (3 in Merrimack and 23 in Litchfield) show PFOA levels at or above 100 parts per trillion (ppt) ranging from 100 ppt to 830 ppt. An updated map and table of the test results have been posted on the NHDES website:

Test results for three Merrimack Village District water wells, tested on March 9, 2016, were 17 ppt, 54, ppt, and 90 ppt respectively. The well that tested at 90 ppt is currently offline. NHDES is sampling five MVD wells today, and will be resampling the MVD wells on a weekly basis during the investigation.

Since the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has not yet established a Health Advisory for lifetime exposure to PFOA, NHDES has decided to provide bottled water to locations using a private well for drinking water for human consumption that contains over 100 parts per trillion of PFOA. NHDES will reassess this situation once the EPA provides more definitive guidance. None of the Merrimack Village District water wells tested over 100 ppt.

The EPA has not set an enforceable drinking water standard for PFOA under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act. EPA’s Office of Water has, however, established a Provisional Health Advisory (PHA) of 0.4 micrograms per liter (μg/L) or 400 parts per trillion for PFOA. That level is set based upon short-term contact and the EPA is currently developing guidance for long-term exposure levels, which EPA is expected to release in the near future.

For background, the investigation into the potential presence of perfluorochemicals (PFCs) in drinking water in Merrimack and vicinity began several weeks ago when Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics notified NHDES that perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) was detected at 30 parts per trillion in samples taken from four water faucets within their Merrimack facility, which is served by the Merrimack Village District Water System. PFOA has been detected in the Hoosick Falls, NY, water supply and in some private wells in North Bennington, VT, near other Saint-Gobain facilities. Because materials containing PFOA have been used at the plant in Merrimack, Saint-Gobain voluntarily tested the water at its Merrimack facility.

NHDES will continue to sample both private drinking water wells and the Merrimack Village Districts water. For more information related to the investigation, please visit the NHDES website at .

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