“MERRIMACK — Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics and Textiles Coated International will not reimburse the school district for the water filtration systems expected to be installed in the local schools this summer.

‘The school district’s attorneys did everything they could to obtain a contribution towards the filtration, but Saint-Gobain and TCI have refused to contribute,’ said school board member Andy Schneider. ‘The cost of litigating this case would likely exceed the cost of installing the filters and we do not want to delay installing the filters until the legal process has been resolved.’

Two years ago, elevated levels of perfluorochemicals were discovered in wells near the Saint-Gobain plant in Merrimack and in wells around the former TCI plant in Amherst, prompting many homeowners in several nearby communities to use bottled water.

Although the companies are not willing to assist with the financial costs of installing filtration at the local schools, the board still intends to pursue the filtration proposal. Voters will decide next month whether to adopt the school district’s budget, which includes $128,000 to install central filtration systems at the schools that would treat select faucets and water fountains.

‘The safety of our students and staff is a top priority for us,’ said school board member Cinda Guagliumi.

She said it is unfortunate that the companies rejected the request by town officials, explaining the board must figure out its options and next steps.

‘I agree. It is sad to hear that the individual companies didn’t see the opportunity to actually come forward and assist in this with the school district,’ said school board member Michael Thompson.

He stressed the need to have non-detectable levels of PFOA in the drinking water at local schools.

The most recent testing at Merrimack schools showed low levels of PFOA at 20 parts per trillion at Merrimack High School, 19 ppt at Merrimack Middle School, 15 ppt at James Mastricola Upper Elementary School, 17 ppt at Reeds Ferry Elementary School, 15 ppt at Thorntons Ferry Elementary School and 18 ppt at Mastricola Elementary School.”

Read the full article by Kimberly Houghton.