“PORTSMOUTH — New Hampshire Fish and Game has issued an ’emergency rule’ establishing Berry’s Brook, which runs from the Coakley landfill, as a ‘catch and release only’ fishing water.

The department issued the ruling this week ‘because of concern regarding contaminants leaching into the water from the Coakley landfill site.’

PFAS chemicals, which are suspected carcinogens, were found in surface water taken from Berry’s Brook in Greenland near the landfill, a Superfund cleanup site in North Hampton and Greenland.

Tests conducted in the brook near the landfill found PFAS chemicals at levels nearly three times higher than the health advisory level set by the Environmental Protection Agency.

‘The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under a Quality Assurance and Protection Plan with the Coakley Landfill Group (CLG) is gathering information to determine any potential health risks associated with consuming fish (stocked or wild) that have been exposed to these contaminants,’ the department said.

Studies on PFAS chemicals have determined they could also cause low birth weights, harm a child’s development and increase cholesterol, according to the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.

The CLG is made up of municipalities and private companies who either dumped waste in the landfill or transported it there that are responsible for paying for remediation of the site. The city of Portsmouth is responsible for about 53 percent of the costs of site remediation.

State Rep. Mindi Messmer, D-Rye, said she was ‘very happy with the decision’ by Fish and Game to impose the emergency rule. Messmer, who has pushed for the CLG to install a pump and treat system at the site to deal with contaminated ground and surface water, said the request concerning fish in the brook initially came from the state’s Pediatric Cancer Commission…

Some people living around the site are concerned that chemicals leaching from the landfill will contaminate their residential wells. Tests done on groundwater in monitoring wells at the site have been found PFOS levels as high as 1,108 parts per trillion, according to N.H. DES and the EPA…

Testing done on private residential wells has found PFAS chemicals at levels below the health advisory.”

Read the full article by Jeff McMenemy.