News Feature | October 2, 2017

Officials Urge PFC Polluter To Cover Water Hookup Costs

Sara Jerome

By Sara Jerome
@sarmje

merrimack river reg new

In Bedford, NH, officials want polluter Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics to hook homes with contaminated wells to municipal water, according to New Hampshire Public Radio.

In areas where drinking water is contaminated with perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) —a growing problem around the country — a question often arises: Who will pay for residents to access safe drinking water?

“Bedford residents are still using bottled water 18 months after finding out their private wells are contaminated with PFOA,” the report said.

The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services wants that to change. The department asked Saint-Gobain to provide residents with access to public drinking water.

“Residents expected to be hooked up to public water months ago, and say relying on bottled is about to become even more difficult with winter approaching,” the report said.

State Rep. Terry Wolf and other lawmakers are calling on Saint-Gobain to remedy the problem. Wolf said the process is dragging on for too long.

“There are a couple of different options for hooking up to the municipal water supply and the lowest cost option is Merrimack Valley Water District. And they need a pumping station to be able to do that. So Saint-Gobain is looking for land to place the pumping station. And at this point they can't find a location for it,” Wolf told NHPR.

New Hampshire regulators have been urging Saint Gobain to work closely with water utilities to address PFC contamination. In a letter sent last year, New Hampshire Environmental Services Department officials told company officials that they must take steps to resolve the public health threat posed by the contamination.

New Hampshire has at least five PFC contamination sites, according to a research project by the nonprofit Environmental Working Group (EWG) and Northeastern University in Boston. The project includes an interactive map highlighting where PFCs have been detected. Released this year, the study shows PFCs are found in drinking water for 15 million Americans in 27 states.

Image credit: "IMG_20130413_110800.jpg," Charlene McBride © 2013, used under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/