“GREENLAND — State Rep. Mindi Messmer, D-Rye, is questioning the conclusion reached by a Coakley Landfill Group consultant that PFAS found in Berry’s Brook is coming from above the landfill cap and not the landfill itself.

Messmer based her comments Tuesday on the diverse content in the Superfund landfill’s waste, ‘the seasonal variation in contamination levels and the fact that deep bedrock groundwater beneath the landfill is highly contaminated with PFAS.’

‘It is highly unlikely that the cap is solely responsible for the toxins in the deep bedrock or the brooks that flow throughout the Seacoast,’ Messmer said in an interview Tuesday.

A study conducted by CES, Inc., the longtime paid consultant to the CLG, concludes ‘the source of the detections in the headwaters of Berry’s Brook appears to be above the landfill cap, not from the refuse material collected below the cap,’ City Manager John Bohenko said in a memo to the City Council.

During Monday’s meeting, City Attorney Robert Sullivan, who also serves as the chairman of CLG’s executive committee, told the council he had spoken to Mike Deyling of CES about the conclusions about the PFAS in Berry’s Brook reached by the company.

‘He said to me if the council discusses that letter tonight, implore the council not to leap ahead of the science and to draw any significant or final conclusions as a result of this letter,’ Sullivan said…

Sullivan referenced a spot at the headwaters of Berry’s Brook that has ‘very high readings of PFAS.’

Sullivan has repeatedly said the CLG only does things it is ordered to do by the Environmental Protection Agency. But on Monday night Sullivan stated ‘the landfill group … (was) sort of acting on its own to investigate that one spot.’

The CES report stated that because PFAS is identified in the samples at Berry’s Brook, but not 1,4 dioxane, which has been detected in many of the site’s groundwater monitoring wells, the PFAS there is not coming from landfill waste.

Instead it could be coming from a plastic membrane layer or plastic pipes in the ‘multi-media seven layer’ cap the EPA ordered the CLG to construct, Sullivan said…

But Messmer said she found it ‘interesting that they have taken this on independently when they’ve always said they’re only able to do things that the EPA orders them to do, that is unless it’s in their self interest.’

People living around the landfill are concerned dangerous chemicals leaching from the landfill will contaminate their residential wells.

During Monday’s meeting, City Councilor Chris Dwyer criticized members of the Legislature who called on the CLG to install a pump and treat system at the landfill. She stated that’s why the council ‘was so adamant when the Legislature thought from a distance they would just pick a solution and start disrupting that cap.’

‘How disastrous that would have been if this is in fact the case,’ Dwyer said of CES’ conclusions. ‘That would have been an ecological disaster.’

But Messmer, who earned a master’s of science in clinical and translational science from Georgetown University, said lawmakers ‘never said anything about disrupting the cap.’ And she added the PFAS in the brook has to be ‘at least partly from the dump waste.’

‘The system was supposed to be installed between the brook and the landfill,’ Messmer said. ‘Regardless of where it’s coming from, it’s contaminating the water ways of the whole Seacoast and it needs to be cleaned up.’ ”

Read the full article by Jeff McMenemy