The PFAS Project Lab

Studying Social, Scientific, and Political Factors of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances

Merrimack/Litchfield/Bedford, New Hampshire

Suspected contamination source: Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics (NHDES, 2016)

Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics tested the water at its Merrimack plant after finding high levels of PFOA contamination around its facilities in New York and Vermont.

In 2016 the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) conducted groundwater and well tests surrounding the Saint-Gobain plant that revealed elevated levels of PFOA for more than one and a half miles around the facility.

In Merrimack, PFOA ranged from 17 to 820 ppt and one well at the landfill measured 2,200 ppt. Merrimack Village District water wells — which provide water to 25,000 customers — had levels ranging from 17 ppt to 90 ppt. In Bedford over 350 homes had low levels of PFOA to 36ppt and 40 wells in Litchfield had PFOA at or over 100ppt with the maximum of 1,001ppt. The EPA’s health advisory (HA) level is 70ppt combined PFOA/PFOS.

Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics in Merrimack. (Photo: Kimberly Houghton / Union Leader)

The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services is providing bottled water to households have detected PFOA at 100 ppt or more.

The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is offering blood testing to residents whose drinking water supply has been contaminated with perfluorochemicals (PFASs). Individuals tested had higher levels of PFOA exposure than members of the general U.S. population.

In 2018, Saint-Gobain reached a consent decree to fund municipal water line extensions to parts of Merrimack, Litchfield, and Bedford, and agreed to pay for a granular activated carbon filter on two public Merrimack Village District wells.

Additional Resources

Media Coverage:

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