The Town is monitoring events related to the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services’ (DES) discovery of high levels of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) in wells around the Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics facility in Merrimack.
The Town Council, Town Manager and Town staff have been in communication with the DES and have asked if the testing zone for PFOA should be expanded to include the closest areas in Londonderry.
“DES has committed to sharing the most recent testing results with us and assessing whether, based on those results, the testing area should be expanded to include Londonderry. We expect to have that information and a frank discussion with DES later this week,” the Town said in an April 1 press release. “At this time, the Town Council believes it is important for the public to know what we know.”
Areas in Bedford that purchase their water from Merrimack Village District (MVD) and private wells located in Merrimack and Litchfield within one mile of Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics in Merrimack have detected varying levels of PFOA. The Saint-Gobain plastics plant is where the exposure to PFOA is thought to have originated.
According to a press release the DES issued on March 31, the agency has received a total of 107 drinking water test results to date. The water well samples were collected between March 9 and March 20, and the results show levels of PFOA ranging from no detection to 830 parts-per-trillion (ppt).
Private wells in Merrimack and Litchfield show PFOA levels at or above 100 ppt (the concentration at which DES provides bottled water), ranging from 100 ppt to 830 ppt.
The results for the nearest wells to the Londonderry town line are below 100 ppt.
A well that tested at 90 ppt is offline. The DES sampled five additional MVD wells March 3 and plans to re-sample the MVD wells on a weekly basis during the investigation.
The DES investigation into the potential presence of PFC’s in drinking water in Merrimack and neighboring communities began several weeks ago when Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics notified the DES that PFOA was detected at 30 ppt in samples taken from four water faucets within their Merrimack facility, which the MVD Water System services.
There are some results that are above background concentrations, but most are at background concentrations, which are less than 10 ppt, according to the DES.
More recent test results for tests conducted at Corning Road, Woodland Road and Courtland in Litchfield will be important to determining whether the zone of testing should expand to Londonderry, according to the Town.
Londonderry officials said they are also monitoring the situation in anticipation of the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) issuance of a report on PFOA this spring.
“If the EPA changes its opinion about the actionable level of PFOA, we will respond accordingly,” the Town said.
For more information regarding the DES’s ongoing investigation, sampling results or conducting private well testing, visit the DES online at http://des.nh.gov/.
The Town Council and Town Manager will continue to update the public as they receive more information related to the DES’s ongoing investigation.