“ROCHESTER — Three Rochester groundwater monitoring wells have tested positive for PFAS, a group of chemicals linked to cancer and a host of other adverse health effects.

Two of the wells are at the old Rochester landfill on Old Dover Road, while the other is located at the city’s wastewater treatment plant, according to city officials. City Engineer Mike Bezanson said Wednesday that none of the wells are used for obtaining water for human consumption.

As a result of the recent positive test results, the state has told Rochester it must expand its monitoring program to include all five of the wells already at the landfill, in addition to monitoring a nearby mobile home park at 300 Blackwater Road and five separate residences in that area. In total, that screening and sampling will cost roughly an additional $11,500, more than doubling what Rochester spends on its program each year.

The positive test results at the wastewater treatment plant won’t require any increase in city expenditures because tests show the facility is removing the PFAS from the inflow before the treated water leaves the facility, according to Director of City Services Peter Nourse.

According to Nourse, the city is working closely with the state on its next steps, and he said the issue must be taken seriously. Among those next steps is contacting the Blackwater Road property owners to ask permission to sample their wells, since the city doesn’t yet have any PFAS results from them, said Bezanson…

The Rochester Landfill monitoring wells that yielded positive PFAS readings are known as MW-2 and MW-8, while the wastewater treatment plant monitoring well in question is known as MW-3R. MW-8 had the highest positive results of the three during a recent sampling, as the tests registered 626 ppt of PFOA and 228 ppt of PFOS. MW-3R’s tests indicated 148 ppt of PFOA and 38.8 ppt of PFOS, while MW-2′s tests indicated 77.7 ppt of PFOA and 47 ppt of PFOS.

Until private wells are tested near these sites to determine whether PFAS has spread through the groundwater, state officials recommended any residents concerned about potential contamination to purchase and use bottled water for drinking and cooking.

‘However, the good news is typically the contamination has not moved offsite and contaminated private wells,’ said Jim Martin, the public information officer for the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services. ‘Obviously, each case is individual, but in general terms that’s the good news we’re seeing with landfills.’

When Nourse notified city councilors of the Rochester test results during the June 21 City Council Public Works and Buildings Committee meeting, Deputy Mayor Ray Varney said the source of the problem ‘has to be taken care of at some point.’ ”

Read the full article by Kyle Stucker