“NORTH HAMPTON — New test results could show a car wash is the likely source of contaminants in local drinking water, not the Coakley landfill, state environmental workers say.

State officials said last fall perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, chemicals were possibly traveling through groundwater from Pro-Wash, a car wash and detailer at 22 Lafayette Road, to Aquarion Water Co.’s supply. Results of PFAS testing from approximately 75 new well locations near Aquarion’s supply are expected by May 30. State officials anticipate the results will confirm their suspicions about the car wash and Coakley…

Some Hampton officials have said they suspect the Coakley landfill Superfund site in Greenland and North Hampton was the source of PFAS in Aquarion wells, which serve Hampton, North Hampton and Rye. Those officials said they want the Coakley Landfill Group, which funds the landfill’s remediation, to pay for treating Aquarion water. The company’s water supply has not exceeded limits on PFAS detection, but some Seacoast officials argue the chemicals are suspected to be more harmful than currently known.

Hampton Selectman Regina Barnes, who has called for more testing that could show or disprove Coakley is the source, said she wanted to see the test results and DES recommendations before commenting on them. However, if DES believes it has identified the source, she said, ‘That’s good news.’

State officials have said Coakley is leaching PFAS, a potential carcinogen, into nearby groundwater but there has never been evidence to show a plume from Coakley has reached Aquarion wells.

If the car wash is determined to be the PFAS source, the state will be limited in its options for responding, Kernen said. Despite having a reading of 9,000 parts per trillion for total PFAS compounds, he said the car wash is not violating PFAS regulations because only two of the many compounds are actually regulated.

‘Seeing nothing’s being violated here, it’s difficult to order a potential responsible party to collect data to show more potential that they are or they’re not,’ Kernen said…

The car wash may still need to change certain practices if tests detect 1,4-dioxane at levels above federal regulations, which Kernen said is expected. Changes could mean hauling contaminated water off-site, treating contaminants or using alternative products without 1,4-dioxane, he said. Those methods, he added, could result in lower PFAS discharges.

Hampton’s groundwater expert hired to represent the town on water quality issues, University of New Hampshire professor Tom Ballestero, said Coakley should not be ruled out. The director of the UNH Stormwater Center believes too little testing has been done to disprove PFAS has traveled from Coakley to Aquarion wells…

Ballestero acknowledged he had not provided stamped reports on Coakley but has looked at the original studies of Coakley, which he said indicates pollutants move radially away from the landfill in all directions. Barnes and other officials have said they are concerned the state is neglecting to test south and east of Coakley toward Well 6.”

Read the full article by Max Sullivan