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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?

State Opens $50M Loan Fund For Water Systems To Clean Up PFAS Chemicals


A new state loan program aims to help towns comply with strict new limits on a kind of toxic chemicals in drinking water - industrial PFAS chemicals, which have caused widespread contamination in the state.

The $50 million loan fund is designed to cover the testing and treatment required under the state's new PFAS drinking water standards.

On a call with water operators last week, state drinking water bureau chief Brandon Kernen said initial testing shows at least 90 public water systems in the state could qualify.

“I would expect the demand to be pretty robust given the extent of the PFAS contamination in our state and the resources that people are going to need to help fix the problems that they have," he said.

Steve Guercia of Secondwind Water Systems in Manchester said on that call that the few PFAS systems he's installed have relatively high ongoing maintenance costs -- which can be a burden, especially for smaller water systems.

"It's going to make arsenic look like a walk in the park," Guercia said. "So if there can be some help, even if it's a loan, at least it helps spread that cost out for the system as a regular payment."

The loans include some reimbursement and forgiveness options. The fund could expand with potential future legal settlements from chemical manufacturers.

Other state and federal grants and loans are also available for this purpose. Certain water systems can apply for small grants to cover design costs for their PFAS treatment systems.

Annie has covered the environment, energy, climate change and the Seacoast region for NHPR since 2017. She leads the newsroom's climate reporting project, By Degrees.
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