Portsmouth Water Division offers update on PFAS regulations: January 3, 2019
Portsmouth Water System PFC Sampling Update: December 21, 2018
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a diverse group of compounds resistant to heat, water, and oil. For decades, they have been used in hundreds of industrial applications and consumer products such as carpeting, apparels, upholstery, food paper wrappings, fire-fighting foams and metal plating. In May, 2014, the City of Portsmouth was contacted by the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services the samples from the Haven Well, part of the Pease Tradeport drinking water system, had a PFAS compound – PFOS – that exceeded the drinking water health advisory at that time. The well was immediately shut down. The Air Force’s engineering consultant has been performing frequent routine sampling of the water supply wells in the system near the Haven Well for PFAS compounds (also referred to as PFCs).
Water Supply Sampling of PFAS
The City of Portsmouth’s water supply staff continue to monitor all of your public water supply sources for Perfluorinated compounds (PFAS) every six months. Included below is the most recent analysis of the Portsmouth supply sources taken this fall. Samples are sent to the same certified laboratory that has been analyzing PFAS since the contamination of the Pease Tradeport wells was discovered in May 2014. Nearly all of the compounds in the samples were non-detect. The Collins well had one detection of PFBS, the Portsmouth well had detections of PFHxS and PFHxA, and the Greenland well had a detection of PFHxA. These detections were all so low that the laboratory “J” flagged them as “estimated.” Also attached is the most recent comprehensive list of sampling of Portsmouth water sources since 2014.
The Air Force’s engineering consultant, Wood PLC, continues to perform monthly PFAS sampling of the water supply wells in the system near the Haven Well. Prior to the installation of activated carbon filters for the Smith and Harrison Wells (Pease Wells) in September 2016, the Smith Well was sampled weekly and the Harrison Well was sampled every two weeks while the Portsmouth and Collins wells were sampled monthly. In addition to the water supply wells, the Air Force’s consultant samples other monitoring wells in the surrounding area to track any potential migration of PFCs to the aquifer that may be moving toward the supply wells. The newly installed activated carbon treatment system for the Harrison and Smith wells is also sampled, utilizing the same laboratory as the Air Force’s consultant uses to provide consistency. Data provided by the Air Force is updated on the City’s website once it has been validated by the laboratory and provided to the City by the Air Force’s consultant. That information can be accessed at: https://www.cityofportsmouth.com/publicworks/water/pease-tradeport-water-system
Health Advisory Levels
In May 2016, the EPA set a Lifetime Health Advisory Level of 70 ppt for PFOS and PFOA. According to EPA information these health advisory levels were calculated to offer a margin of protection for all Americans throughout their life from adverse health effects resulting from exposure to these contaminants in drinking water. In order to assure compliance with the newly adopted health standard, the City of Portsmouth’s water division adopted a policy of monitoring PFAS in all of our water sources twice a year. The Air Force will continue with monthly sampling of the Portsmouth, Collins, Harrison and Smith wells.
The State of New Hampshire is currently reviewing Health Risk Assessment information to recommend Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs) for PFOA, PFOS, PFHxS and PFNA. We anticipate the release of that recommendation in the very near future. That recommendation will be utilized by the state to start the rulemaking in January 2019 to set the final standards.