Read the full article by Amanda Gokee (New Hampshire Bulletin)
“Of the nine bills this session that aimed to address PFAS contamination in the state, three are still in play. One would put $25 million into a PFAS remediation fund, while the other two address how the chemicals are regulated in the air and before they enter wastewater treatment facilities.
Those are meaningful changes, according to some lawmakers and citizen advocates who are glad to see the bills advance. But they also say they’re insufficient to address the problem posed by the so-called ‘forever chemicals’ in the state.
‘We still have work to do,’ said Laurene Allen, head of Merrimack Citizens for Clean Water. ‘Do these bills go far enough? No, they don’t.’
Allen said ongoing advocacy is needed to ensure funding reaches communities struggling with the cost of remediation so they aren’t left struggling to afford the high maintenance costs of solutions indefinitely.
PFAS are called ‘forever chemicals’ because they are persistent in the environment and take so long to break down. They’re common in consumer products, like stain-resistant couches and carpets, although they’ve been linked to a variety of health problems, including cancer and reproductive health issues.
Merrimack has been at the center of the state’s conversation around the chemicals since 2016, when contamination was discovered in hundreds of drinking wells near the Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics facility. And in December 2021, the state issued a report that found elevated rates of kidney and renal pelvis cancer in the town, leaving residents with many unanswered questions. A state study into the matter is ongoing.
Allen said Merrimack has received a few small grants to address water quality issues, but most funding has come in the form of loans, saddling ratepayers with millions that have to be paid back eventually.
She’s concerned the legislation creating the new remediation fund, House Bill 1547, does not say how much of the money would go toward grants, which she supports over loans.”…