Since 2016, we have worked to advocate for the citizens of Merrimack, New Hampshire.

History

In March of 2016, NH DES ordered the closing of two of the six Merrimack public water wells as they tested over the state regulatory limit of 70ppt for combined PFOA/PFOS. Ongoing water testing of public water has shown varying levels of PFOA/PFOS and water testing in our public schools have ranged from 17-45ppt of PFOA alone. DES has stated that contamination of our closed wells has been attributed to air emissions of PFAS use at the Saint Gobain facility that accumulated in soil and traveled into groundwater. We have been told PFOA was phased out a decade ago but are aware that ongoing use of replacement chemicals of the same class have not been disclosed or regulated in air or groundwater.

Currently there are 21 houses with private wells in Merrimack that have tested above the state limit of 70ppt for PFOA . These wells additionally show the presence of other PFAS that are currently not regulated, thus haven’t received the attention they should be getting. Residents of these homes have been told not to drink their water and must rely on bottled water. Private well owners abutting these homes have recently been provided bottled water. According to DES mapping there are minimally 50 additional private wells that test over 20 ppt for PFOA alone in a variety of locations in Merrimack.

In addition to removing the chemicals from drinking water and regulating the air emissions that are the stated main pathway for chemical contamination in the Merrimack area, our residents are in need of health support. PFOA, PFOS, PFNA and PFHXS are present in our groundwater and have significant bio-accumulative properties. PFOS has a half life of 92 years in groundwater and groundwater plumes present in Merrimack are drawn to nearby wells with higher use. In 2005 the EPA labeled PFCs as a carcinogen, they are also acknowledged to be endocrine disrupters and the C8 study in 2012 resulted in DuPont acknowledging causality for various health conditions that we see are present in our community.

According to a recent community health survey, residents who have public water and live in areas where private wells showed the presence of PFAS are more likely to report diagnoses associated with PFAS exposure. A random blood sampling study conducted by NH DHHS has shown that individuals who use public water closer to the Saint Gobain facility have higher levels of PFOA in their blood serum. Communities in Hoosick Falls, NY and Bennington VT whose water supplies were contaminated by PFAS chemicals attributed to Saint Gobain took an immediate precautionary approach by filtering all public water sources as children and women of child bearing age are more readily impacted by those chemicals at lower levels than the current federal advisory levels.


Water safety concerns aren’t just in Flint, Mich., these days. Communities in three states in the Northeast have found elevated levels of a suspected carcinogen — perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA.
— Hansi Lo Wang, NPR's Morning Edition

Our goals

  • Water filtration of town aquifers to stop consumption of the PFAs and mitigate the health effects in our community
  • Blood test access for all who want it
  • Remediation of all impacted private
    wells
  • More protective regulatory water standards combine all PFAS chemicals
  • Improve communication to the citizens from DES, DHHS, Town council and MVD
  • Community education and support
  • Community health data to better
    understand pathways and
    impact of PFAS exposure
  • Educate Physicians so they can work with their exposed patients for health monitoring
  • A health monitoring program to assist the scientific community about the health effects of PFAS chemicals
  • Coordination of DHHS, DES and
    community health data to better
    understand pathways and
    impact of PFAS exposure
  • An ATSDR community health consultation and recommendation
  • Air emissions regulations and testing
  • Polluters pay laws