“NORTH HAMPTON — A Route 1 car wash will be forced to change how it disposes of contaminants believed to be traveling into Aquarion Water Company’s supply, state officials say, based on new test results.

Before the results came out May 25, state officials said Pro-Wash at 22 Lafayette Road was not believed to be violating state and federal standards for perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, also found in Aquarion’s drinking water supply. Without a violation, they said the state could not take enforcement action against the car wash like some officials from local towns served by Aquarion’s wells have hoped. The company serves Hampton, North Hampton and Rye.

The results from tests taken in the fall and spring in wells on the car wash property show readings for regulated PFAS compounds higher than expected by state officials, who said last month they anticipated the tests would reveal more evidence the car wash was the source of PFAS in Aquarion wells. Brandon Kernan of the state Department of Environmental Services said Monday the new set of results ‘adds to the belief (the car wash) could be potentially responsible for the contamination.’

Readings of up to 158.8 parts per trillion combined for the compounds perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluoro-octanesulfonate (PFOS) were found through the tests, according to DES. The Environmental Protection Agency’s health advisory level for PFOS and PFOA combined or separate is 70 ppt.

‘The activities that have or are occurring at the site that caused the contamination cannot continue,’ said Kernan. ‘NHDES will require that operations at the facility be modified to prevent the contamination of groundwater’…

The car wash was also found to have violation-level readings of 1,4 dioxane, the tests showed, and Kernan said the business will have to make changes to address its discharge of that chemical as well. Changes could mean hauling contaminated water off-site, treating contaminants or using alternative products without the contaminants, he said…

Some Seacoast officials have said they believe the Coakley landfill Superfund site in North Hampton and Greenland is a source of PFAS in Aquarion’s wells, but state officials have said there is no evidence to support that theory. Officials have said that Coakley is leaching contaminants, including PFAS, into nearby groundwater. University of New Hampshire professor Tom Ballestero, said last month that he believes too little testing has been done to disprove PFAS has traveled from Coakley to Aquarion wells.

State Rep. Mindi Messmer, D-Rye, said Monday she believes some PFAS contamination in Aquarion wells is probably from the car wash but that it is not likely the only source. She believes a full evaluation of the interconnection between surface water and bedrock should be done along waterways near Coakley, like Berry’s Brook, to understand the toxin flow from the landfill.

While it is likely that the car wash is responsible for some PFAS contamination, it is not responsible for other Aquarion wells that are contaminated in North Hampton, said Messmer.”

Read the full article by Max Sullivan