Ongoing PFAS Investigation - State and Local Updates

December 8, 2017: The Town has completed its process to select an engineer to engage in conducting a site investigation. The firm of Nobis Engineering will begin its data collection phase as of Monday December 11, at which time they will be installing six (6) shallow monitoring wells. Three (3) wells will be located in the area of the former Fire Station on North Lowell Road, and three (3) in the area of the current Fire Station on Fellows Road. Further updates as to Nobis' progress will be provided once preliminary test results are known.

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September 15, 2017: In May, the NH Department of Environmental Services advised municipalities that impacts to groundwater from PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) and PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonate), collectively referred to as PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances), had been identified in several NH communities. In use since the 1940s, these compounds have been widely utilized in industrial applications and in consumer products because of their properties to resist heat, oil, grease, stains, and water. In the environment, they are stable, persistent, and bioaccumulative. In 2016, the NHDES established "Ambient Groundwater Quality Standards" (AGQS) of 70 nanograms per liter (ng/L, equivalent to parts per trillion [ppt]) for PFAS.

In June, the NHDES conducted sampling and analysis of drinking water wells in many locations, including Windham's municipal center. The testing revealed the presence PFAS at the following Town buildings:

  • Fire Station (test date 8/4/2017): 124.00 ppt
  • Police Station (test date 8/4/2017): 3.00 ppt
  • Nesmith Library (test date 7/20/2017): 5.00 ppt
  • Town Hall (test date 6/7/2017): 24.00 ppt
  • Senior Center/Administrative Office (test date 6/7/2017): 72.00 ppt
  • Senior Center/Administrative Office (test date 8/4/2017): 96.00 ppt

In response to these findings, each facility exceeding the AGQS of 70 ppt is now restricted to bottled water only for consumption. As further testing is conducted, updated results will be posted here.

The Town is undertaking an aggressive response to this issue, continuing to monitor the sites in question and meeting with environmental consultants to establish a work plan as required by the NHDES to address this matter.

The NHDES has also advised that muncipalities having capped landfills must conduct similar groundwater testing as part of their annual monitoring. The Town is currently in the process of arranging for such testing at the old landfill on Marblehead Road, the results of which will be posted here.

We encourage residents to visit the following NHDES websites for more information on PFOA, PFOS, and PFAS and their ongoing investigation into their presence in New Hampshire:

  • https://www.des.nh.gov/organization/commissioner/pfoa.htm 
  • https://www4.des.state.nh.us/nh-pfas-investigation/
  • https://www.des.nh.gov/organization/commissioner/pfoa.htm