Department of Public Works, 680 Peverly Hill Rd, Portsmouth, NH 03801 Phone: (603) 427-1530, Fax: (603) 427-1539 | Contact |

Pease Tradeport Water Information

Pease International Tradeport Water System Update

The City of Portsmouth's Water Division has been actively working with the United States Air Force (Air Force), theUnited States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (DES) in response to the detection of elevated levels of the unregulated contaminant perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) from the Haven Well, one of three wells that serves the Pease International Tradeport and the New Hampshire Air National Guard base at Pease. PFOS is one of a class of chemicals known as PFCs or perfluorochemicals. Because the level of PFOS exceeded the "provisional health advisory" set by the EPA, the well was shut down by the City of Portsmouth on May 12, 2014 and since that time it has been physically disconnected from the system. A number of actions have been taken by the project team. The following documents provide additional Information:


Pease well monitoring and sampling results: :

The Air Force's consultants under the direction of the EPA and DES and in cooperation with the City of Portsmouth have been sampling PFCs in and around the effected Portsmouth drinking water wells. Once validated, this data is posted below:


Portsmouth Water System PFC Sampling Summary

All of the Portsmouth water sources were sampled for Perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) in May 2014 by the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES). Samples were also taken in two locations of the City’s water distribution system (one at the DPW on Peverly Hill Road and another at the meter pit in New Castle). All of the Portsmouth water sources were also sampled as part of the USEPA’s third Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR 3). Four rounds of UCMR3 sampling were performed between July 2014 and April 2015. Those sample results were below the laboratory’s reporting limit for all PFCs.

In June 2016 the NHDES sent out a request to all community and other non-transient water systems to voluntarily collect a water sample for PFOA and PFOS and share the results with NHDES. They also recommended that a lab certified or accredited to complete EPA Method 537 with detection limits of at least 5 nanograms per liter (parts-per-trillion or ppt) be utilized. Following this request Portsmouth water operations staff sampled for PFCs. A second round of sampling was performed in November. The lower reporting limit revealed that the Greenland well results had an average level of 9 ppt of PFOS. It should be noted that the levels were also flagged by the laboratory as “J” values, which means that they were an estimate. The following documents provide a summary of this sampling:


May 18, 2016 - In-Home Treatment Information from NHDES: Click here for the document


December 11, 2015 - Information from NHDES about the use of carbon filters to reduce PFC levels:
The following document provides information that the NHDES provided to the Tenants Association at Pease regarding the use of carbon filters: Click here for the document


November 17, 2015 - Pease Well Treatment System Design Announced:

The City of Portsmouth, the Pease Development Authority and the United States Air Force are pleased to announce the execution of an agreement that will expedite the development of a water treatment system to remove perfluorochemical compounds (PFCs) from water supplied by the Smith, Harrison and Haven wells.  Click here for additional information


March 31st, 2015 - NH Department of Health and Human Services Announces Protocol for Pease Blood Testing
On Tuesday, March 31st, 2015, the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) hosted a public meeting to respond to any questions and inform the public on blood testing protocol. The Division of Public Health Services is offering testing to people who consumed water from the Pease Tradeport water system that was determined in May 2014 to have levels of PFCs (perfluorochemicals) above the provisional health advisory levels set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

If you have any questions regarding the blood testing process, please contact the DHHS Emergency Services Unit at (603) 271-9461, and visit for access to additional documents and information.



March 16th, 2015 - NH Department of Health and Human Services Presentation and PFC Fact Sheet

On Monday, March 16th, Rick Cricenti, Director of the Emergency Services Unit, NH Department of Health & Human Services, addressed City Council regarding the Haven Well contaminant detection and subsequent blood test funding. He provided the following fact sheet on Perfluorinated Chemicals (PFCs). To view his presentation,
scroll to 1 hour and 3 minutes here:


May 23, 2015 - Public Informational Meeting to Discuss Drinking Water Issues at Pease Tradeport

Concord, NH - The  New  Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, the New  Hampshire  Department  of Health  and  Human  Services'  Division  of Public   Health  Services,   and   the   City   of  Portsmouth  will host a
public  informational  meeting  to  discuss  and answer questions about the discovery  of an unregulated contaminant, perfluorooctane sulfonic acid, at a  level  that  exceeded the "provisional health advisory", in the drinking water supply that  serves  the businesses and tenants at Pease Tradeport. Anyone  with  concerns or questions is invited to attend this informational session.


Wednesday, May 28, 2014, 6:00 PM


NH Department of Environmental Services Offices
222 International Drive, Suite 175
Pease Tradeport
Portsmouth, NH


Date: May 22, 2014

On Monday May 12, 2014, City of Portsmouth staff were notified by the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) that water sampling results for the Haven Well showed that perfluorooctanesulfonic acid, an unregulated contaminant, exceeded the provisional health advisory levels recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency.  The Smith and Harrison wells also had levels of this unregulated contaminant in their water but they were well below the advisory levels. As a precautionary measure, the City took the Haven Well immediately off line as recommended by NHDES Drinking Water and Groundwater Bureau.  Therefore, all sources of supply currently serving the Pease Tradeport Water System are below the provisional standard


To summarize key points:

  • The Haven Well will remain off-line indefinitely. 
  • The City is not in violation of any state or federal drinking water standard.  This is an unregulated compound of concern and regulators and the City are taking conservative precautionary measures.
  • The Pease and Portsmouth water systems consist of two separate zones that are isolated from each other, but interconnections exist between the two systems for temporary back up and in case of emergencies.  The water that feeds the Portsmouth zone (which also serves portions of Greenland, Madbury, New Castle, Newington, Madbury and Rye) was tested last Friday for this unregulated compound and none were detected. 
  • There is currently sufficient water to supply the Pease system customers. Historically, the Haven Well provided 46% of the water to the Pease system. To make up for that source, the water operations staff is providing supplemental water to Pease through the Portsmouth system.
  • The City is working with regulators to continue investigation of this issue and options with respect to treatment and/or replacement of this water source.

We will continue to provide updated information as we have it.

The City takes water quality and safety seriously and is working closely with the regulators to learn more about this unregulated compound.  In the meantime the Haven Well will remain off line.  Questions related to this issue are to be directed to Brian Goetz at (603) 766-1420.




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