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State Presses Casella On PFAS, Dioxane Contamination At Bethlehem Landfill

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The Department of Environmental Services’ PFAS sampling map shows elevated levels of the likely harmful chemicals in monitoring wells around Casella’s Bethlehem landfill. ";s:

State regulators want more information on groundwater contamination at the Casella landfill in Bethlehem.

The North Country landfill's latest groundwater monitoring results show PFAS chemicals above strict new state limits, as well as elevated levels of the suspected carcinogen 1,4 dioxane.

All six currently operating lined landfills in New Hampshire have elevated PFAS levels in their groundwater, according to state sampling data.

The chemicals have been linked to health problems, take years to break down in the environment or the body and are not currently subject to federal regulation.

As for 1,4 dioxane, it’s one of the chemicals at issue in a federal Clean Water Act lawsuit from the Conservation Law Foundation. The organization also blames Casella for contaminating the nearby Ammonoosuc River with leachate and heavy metals.

Now, the state says Casella should reevaluate its 1,4 dioxane and PFAS levels in its next round of groundwater tests, due in January.

Meanwhile, Casella gets a public hearing Dec. 3 on a request to expand its Bethlehem landfill by roughly 5 acres, extending its capacity by about two years through 2023.

This expansion plan is far smaller than the additional 100 acres of landfill space that voters in Bethlehem rejected last year.

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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