PFAS chemicals found on Wyman Road property trigger plans for filtration system | Local News


After the discovery of contaminants in the groundwater of a Wyman Road property, the Town of Keene is looking to install a water filtration system that would last at least three years.

In January 2019, the city mandated ground and surface water testing in a monitoring area established around the Keene municipal landfill on Highway 12 near the Keene / Surry line, which was closed and covered in 1999. The tests, carried out by consulting firm EnviroTrac, showed high levels of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in a residential well at 173 Wyman Road.

Sampling in 2019 showed PFAS concentrations of 17.8 parts per trillion at the well, while testing in April 2021 showed PFAS concentrations of 20 parts per trillion, according to a communication from the Public Works Department to the finance, organization and personnel committee of the city council. The state’s standard is 12 parts per trillion, which was lowered by 70 parts per trillion in July 2020.

“Until a few years ago, these tests would have revealed that [were contaminants] in the system, but the standards would not have been met to trigger action, ”Duncan Watson, deputy director of public works, said at the committee meeting on Thursday. “But the detection standards have been reduced … and as a result, the detectable levels that we discovered in the well of 173 Wyman triggered an action that requires us to do something.”

PFAS are synthetic chemicals that can be found in a large number of everyday items, including stain repellants in fabrics, fire retardant mats, non-stick coatings in cookware, foam used to combat airport fires and grease barriers in food packaging on the meeting agenda.

These same chemicals are at the center of a case against Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics’ plant in Merrimack, which told the state in 2016 it had issued unsafe levels of PFAS chemicals that had affected wells. region, NHPR reported.

According to Keene property records, the property at 173 Wyman Road is three acres and includes a house and barn. The owner’s name was not included in the Thursday meeting agenda or mentioned during the session. However, records from the Keene Department of Assessment show that the property was purchased in October 2020 by John R. Lamont and Nicole J. Lamont.

Although the exact source of PFAS at 173 Wyman Road is unknown, NH’s environmental services department holds the city responsible.

While research is still under development, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says exposure to PFAS can lead to harmful health effects. Watson’s communication says the city will provide the resident of 173 Wyman Road with bottled water for drinking and cooking needs for several weeks, then install a water filtration system in the basement of the house and provide monthly or quarterly monitoring for up to three years.

According to the public works department, the cost to supply bottled water and install the water filtration system, as well as labor, subcontractors, filter changes and testing on three years, is expected to be around $ 38,000. Keene’s current solid waste division budget will absorb these costs.

Watson’s communication to the FOP committee indicates that the state’s environmental services department will likely expand the testing area to determine the extent of the contamination.

Watson said there are a few long-term options to permanently address the water issue on the property. The most obvious would be to extend the town’s water pipes, which currently do not reach 173 Wyman Road, by stopping around the area of ​​Hillside Village.

“We have made some preliminary engineering estimates, and the price of bringing the water lines beyond, to the location we are talking about, would be north of $ 500,000,” Watson said.

However, he added that the problem is becoming increasingly important and funds are being accumulated at state and federal levels to help communities facing PFAS contamination.

The FOP committee voted unanimously to recommend that City Council authorize City Manager Elizabeth Dragon to negotiate an agreement with the owner of 173 Wyman Road to install the water filtration system for an initial period of three years at beginning in July.

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