NHDES has initiated the rulemaking authorized by legislation enacted in the 2018 legislative session to establish maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) for four compounds: perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS), perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA), and perfluorohexane sulfonic acid (PFHxS). In support of this activity and the others listed below, NHDES has scheduled three public comment hearings in March. Because there has been some confusion about those scheduled hearings and how else individuals might be able to submit their comments, we are putting out this clarification.
Pursuant to applicable law, NHDES is now accepting written comments on all of the proposed rules, whether submitted on paper or sent via email to the contact person identified in each Rulemaking Notice (available on-line on the NHDES Rulemaking Page – see below). The deadline for submitting written comments is 4:00 PM on Friday, April 12, 2019. Anyone can submit written comments at any time prior to this deadline. All comments received prior to the deadline will receive the same thorough consideration. Attendance at a hearing is not required to submit written comments.
NHDES has scheduled three public hearings to receive comments on the proposed rules, as follows:
Monday, March 4, 2019, starting at 5:30 PM in the All Purpose Room of the James Mastricola Upper Elementary School in Merrimack, NH;
Tuesday, March 5, 2019, starting at 1:00 PM in the Auditorium of the NHDES offices at 29 Hazen Drive in Concord NH; and
Tuesday, March 12, 2019, starting at 5:30 PM in Room A of the NHDES Pease Field Office at 222 International Drive, Suite 175, in Portsmouth, NH.
Comments on all of the proposed rules will be accepted at each hearing — and remember that you can submit written comments without attending any of the hearings.
Unlike the numerous public meetings that have been held over the past several years regarding PFAS investigations, these three hearings are solely to receive public comments on the proposed rules. Due to the special nature of the hearings, the Commissioner has designated a Hearing Officer to preside at the hearings. The designated individual is a member of the NHDES Legal Unit who has presided over such hearings in the past. The Hearing Officer will ensure the orderly presentation of public comments and will ensure that everyone who wishes to comment will be allowed to.
To support the effort of setting MCLs, amendments are proposed to various sections and paragraphs of Env-Dw 700-800 to establish the MCLs as well as to establish maximum contaminant limit goals (MCLGs) and monitoring, compliance, reporting, and public notification requirements for the compounds. In addition, because the 2018 legislation also requires ambient groundwater quality standards (AGQS) to be equivalent to established MCLs, amendments are proposed to Env-Or 603.03 to establish the AGQS. And finally, because technology does not yet exist for large-scale treatment of wastewater containing the compounds, amendments are proposed to Env-Wq 402 to establish a discharge limit for the compounds in wastewater discharged to groundwater and to include the compounds in an existing conditional exemption from meeting AGQS and in existing treatment/alternative response requirements.