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0000017a-15d9-d736-a57f-17ff8f4d0000NHPR’s ongoing coverage of water contamination at the former Pease Air Force Base and in the communities surrounding the Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics plant in Merrimack. We’ll keep you updated on day to day developments, and ask bigger questions, such as:What do scientists know about the health effects of perfluorochemicals like PFOA, PFOS and PFHxS?How are policy makers in New Hampshire responding to these water contaminants?How are scientists and policymakers communicating potential risks?How are other states responding to similar contaminations?

DES Pushes Back on Bill to Lower Threshold for Contaminants

Joe Shlabotnik/flickr

The state Department of Environmental Services says a proposal to set stricter limits for certain contaminants in drinking water could cost the state over 30 million dollars.

New Hampshire’s current limit for emerging contaminants in drinking water – that is, contaminants where the science isn’t yet widely settled -- is based on science from the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

A billcurrently in the House would require the state environmental agency to come up with its own, more conservative threshold.

But state environmental officials have expressed concern about the bill. This week the Department of Environmental Services sent a memo to lawmakers that said the bill could cost the state tens of millions of dollars in additional water testing and treatment.

Michael Wimsatt is with DES, he says the agency remains confident that the current EPA threshold of 70 parts per trillion is adequate.

“We believe that standard is protective. It was put together by a very large group of very well qualified scientists and toxicologists and it was peer-reviewed and we believe it represents the best evaluation to set a protective standard.”

A House committee will consider the bill’s potential financial impact Friday.

Jason Moon is a senior reporter and producer on the Document team. He has created longform narrative podcast series on topics ranging from unsolved murders, to presidential elections, to secret lists of police officers.

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