Oct 04, 2019

New Hampshire's New PFAS Limits Met With Lawsuit

The same day new regulations were put into effect to limit PFAS chemicals in New Hampshire’s drinking water, municipal interests sued.

Gavel for the courtroom.

Following the new state regulations to limit per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) chemicals in New Hampshire’s drinking water, a coalition of municipal, farm, and company interests sued. 

The coalition emphasized that municipal systems are merely the receivers of PFAS, not the source of it in waste streams. The rules apply to public water systems and other entities involved with groundwater management. 

“The new rules will have a significant financial impact on the customers of our small water and sewer district” said the Plymouth Village Water & Sewer District in a statement, adding that “we cannot afford to adopt a ‘wait and see’ attitude given the magnitude of the cost and the potential consequences to the District.” 

The regulations require local water utilities to test for four types of PFAS chemicals every quarter. If the level of PFAS found are above the state's new levels, utilities will have to switch to a different water source, or develop costly treatment systems to mitigate the issue. The limits are now 12 ppt for PFOA, 15 ppt for PFOS, 18 ppt for PFHxS and 11 ppt for PFNA, according to New Hampshire Public Radio. These standards follow advice from a U.S. Centers for Disease Control study that deems the U.S. EPA health advisory level of 70 ppt for PFAS and PFOS as too high.

The state Department of Environmental Services (DES) received $6 million in the new state budget to aid small systems in complying with the new law during this first year, according to U.S. News. Nevertheless, the Municipal Assn. and others fear a need for additional money may lead to water rate or property tax hikes in affected towns. The costs for well tests can cost up to a few hundred dollars. The DES hopes to work with legislators next year on finding options for extra related funding.

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