State and Fed Agencies Address Contaminants in Drinking Water

By Gabriele Crognale
Freelance Environmental Specialist

In an effort to try and bring residents up to speed on water issues facing Southern New Hampshire water contamination issues, the The Londonderry Times will be running a series of articles on the subject.
The first of our installments on contaminants, primarily chemicals, affecting the drinking water of various communities in New Hampshire, we will first take a look back at several actions and activities that could have been a causal factor in having contaminated these affected municipalities’ drinking water sources. We will then fast forward to recent actions by the Biden Administration instructing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to take actions in combating these emerging contaminants, such as President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding to address emerging contaminants like PFAS in drinking water in New Hampshire. The nearly $19 million investment will be allocated to New Hampshire as grants through EPA’s Emerging Contaminants in Small or Disadvantaged Communities (EC-SDC) Grant Program, with the goal to promote access to safe and clean water in small, rural, and disadvantaged communities while supporting local economies.
As was stated in an EPA Region One Press Release on Feb. 13, 2023, EPA Administrator, Michael Regan, stated, “Too many American communities, especially those that are small, rural, or underserved, are suffering from exposure to PFAS and other harmful contaminants in their drinking water.” He continued, “Thanks to President Biden’s leadership, we are investing in America and providing billions of dollars to strengthen our nation’s water infrastructure while safeguarding people’s health and boosting local economies. These grants build on EPA’s PFAS Strategic Roadmap and will help protect our smallest and most vulnerable communities from these persistent and dangerous chemicals.”
On the regional level, EPA Region One Administrator, David W. Cash, added, “Today’s grant announcement is one significant step in EPA’s comprehensive PFAS Roadmap to support our state partners as we aggressively tackle PFAS in drinking water, protect public health, and provide critical information quickly and transparently.” He continued, “This funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will target resources to small or disadvantaged communities most in need of assistance and will speed up our important work reducing PFAS and other emerging contaminants in drinking water, especially in communities that are challenged by lack of capacity and funding.”
The attention that the US EPA is giving to these so-called “forever” chemicals should come as some sort of solace to New Hampshire residents, some possibly more than others, depending upon their proximity to companies using these chemicals, which is also being echoed by the US Congressional delegation, by their individual announcements, thus hopefully reinforcing EPA’s general tenet to combat these harmful chemicals.
First to weigh in to add their heartfelt appreciation for this funding, was US Senator, Jeanne Shaheen, who stated, “This latest allocation of federal dollars for New Hampshire demonstrates the expansive, historic reach of the bipartisan infrastructure law – today, tomorrow and months and years from now, we will continue to feel the impact of this law. I was proud to negotiate the water provisions, and specifically the elements to address PFAS, and I’m so glad to see these resources being delivered to our state. Addressing PFAS has long been a top concern for me and I’ll continue to make sure this priority remains front and center in Congress so Granite Staters have peace of mind about the safety of their drinking water and environment.”
New Hampshire U.S. Senator, Maggie Hassan, responded, “I worked across the aisle with my colleagues to develop the bipartisan infrastructure law in order to address the pressing needs of our communities, including PFAS contamination and this funding is the latest example of how our bill is making a difference in New Hampshire. I will keep working to ensure that every household in our state has access to clean, reliable drinking water.”
Also weighing in with her observations on this important milestone was U.S. Representative, Annie Kuster, “Every Granite Stater should have confidence that their drinking water is clean and safe thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we are one step closer to making that a reality for communities across New Hampshire.” She continued, “I was proud to help secure these resources to address PFAS contamination and deliver for our state. I will continue working to turn off the tap on dangerous chemicals and hold polluters accountable.”
And finally from U.S. Representative (D), Chris Pappas, “It’s essential that all communities have access to clean and safe drinking water. Forever chemicals such as PFAS threaten the safety of our water, public health, and environment. This federal funding from the bipartisan infrastructure law will help us combat PFAS contamination in New Hampshire’s rural and underserved communities.”
It is clear from these brief enthusiastic comments from our U.S. New Hampshire Congressional delegation that combatting (chemical) contaminants like PFAS (Per-and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances) are of prime importance to all New Hampshire residents. In our next segment, we will delve further into EPA’s PFAS Strategic Roadmap and what this blueprint can provide New Hampshire residents affected by PFAS contamination.

NOTE: If any reader has any comments or would like to be interviewed in a future installment, please reach out to our Publisher, Deb Paul. In our next installment, we will take another look at previous articles from national contributors on the PFAS issues at Saint Gobain.

Gabriele Crognale, PE, is a freelance environmental specialist and author. His specialties include: evaluating environmental, health and safety (EHS) issues; and as a writer, delves into complex EHS issues with an investigative focus. His previous works include his signature work, Environmental Management Strategies: The 21st Century Perspective, Prentice-Hall, 1999, along with contributions to Business and the Environment, Safety Management, and PropertyCasualty360.

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