Press Release: NHDES and Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Reach Agreement on Provision of Alternate Drinking Water

News from the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DATE: April 18, 2022
CONTACT: Jim Martin, (603) 271-3710
des.nh.gov
twitter.com/NHDES

New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services and Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Reach Agreement on Provision of Alternate Drinking Water

Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES), represented by the Office of the Attorney General, and Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics (SGPP) announced today they have reached an agreement to permanently provide safe drinking water to approximately 1,000 properties located in portions of the towns of Bedford, Hudson, Litchfield, Londonderry, and Merrimack, New Hampshire.  The agreement also provides a framework for moving forward on additional properties that may be impacted by SGPP.

“We are pleased that the State and Saint-Gobain were able to reach agreement to provide safe, alternate water to approximately 1,000 properties in this five-town area, where private drinking water wells have tested above the State standards for PFOA.  The families and businesses occupying these properties will finally get a permanent solution, after a long period of relying on bottled water,” said Bob Scott, NHDES Commissioner.  Attorney General John Formella added “Ensuring safe drinking water is something we take very seriously. This agreement is an important step forward in a continuing, multi-faceted effort to ensure impacted New Hampshire residents have access to clean drinking water.”

Following the initial discovery of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) in area drinking water in 2016, which NHDES attributed to air emissions from the SGPP plant in Merrimack, NHDES launched a massive testing effort to determine the extent of the contamination and conducted emergency rulemaking to establish a groundwater quality standard for PFOA of 70 parts per trillion.  SGPP and NHDES worked cooperatively to quickly address those properties at greatest risk, providing interim bottled water to impacted residents, and point-of-use treatment systems (POET) or waterline connections to over 500 properties, primarily in Litchfield and Merrimack.  In 2018, the State and SGPP entered into a Consent Decree (CD) memorializing responsibilities with respect to the work already completed, providing waterline connections to an additional 302 properties, and setting the groundwork for future remediation efforts.

In September 2019, NHDES lowered the state drinking water maximum contaminant level (MCL) to 12 parts per trillion for PFOA and directed SGPP to commence an extensive well sampling program.  At present, approximately 1,000 additional properties have tested above the new standard and have been offered bottled water by SGPP.  Pursuant to the agreement, a total of 353 specific properties have been identified to receive either a waterline connection or a POET.  Further, SGPP must propose an alternate water solution for the more than 600 remaining properties that have been offered bottled water.  In addition, as sampling is completed, SGPP will propose solutions for newly identified wells testing over standards.

Today’s agreement will provide waterline connections or a POET for 353 specific properties including:

  • Bedford, south of County Road and east of Liberty Hill Road:
    • Water line connections to 15 properties
    • Point-of-entry treatment (POET) systems for 181 properties
  • Litchfield, Hillcrest Road Area:
    • Water line connections to 77 properties
  • Merrimack, Wildcat Falls Area and Brenda Lane:
    • Water line connections to 32 properties
  • Other Areas in Bedford, Merrimack, Litchfield, and Londonderry:
    • Water line connections to 48 properties

Under the agreement, SGPP must make all reasonable efforts to ensure that design work is initiated within 30 days and that applications for regulatory approvals are completed or obtained by June 30, 2022.  Simpler connections to existing water lines are anticipated to begin this summer, with more complex water line extensions being constructed in 2023.  POET installations are anticipated to begin this summer following submittal of a POET workplan by SGPP and approval by NHDES.  In the coming weeks, owners of properties that have been specifically identified in the agreement should expect to receive additional information. However, if property owners have questions, they are encouraged to call SGPP at 1 (800) 742-8498.

The agreement is available here: NHDES and Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Alternate Water Agreement, April 2022.

Pursuant to the agreement, the State did not waive any private right of action by any individuals or parties.

NHDES will host a remote meeting for all affected communities Wednesday, May 4, 2022, at 6:30 pm to discuss the specifics of the agreement, the steps that will follow, and to answer questions.

To register to attend the meeting, click on the following link: Registration (gotowebinar.com)

Additional information on the meeting will be forthcoming as the date draws nearer.

For those who cannot attend the meeting, virtual office hours with NHDES personnel to discuss the agreement will be announced on the NHDES PFAS Investigation website.

For additional information on this agreement, please contact:

For New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services:

Jim Martin
603-271-3710
James.p.martin@des.nh.gov
www.des.nh.gov

For New Hampshire Office of the Attorney General:

Michael Garrity
603-931-9375
Michael.S.Garrity@doj.nh.gov

Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics:  1(800) 742-8498.

 

# # #

 

 

 

James Martin
Public Information Officer, NH Department of Environmental Services
(603) 271-3710
| Cell: (603) 568-9777
| www.nh.des.gov
james.p.martin@des.nh.gov
| 29 Hazen Drive, Concord, NH 03301