Saint-Gobain May Pay For Public Water Infrastructure for Well Owners

May 4, 2016

Credit Emily Corwin / NHPR

  Residents with contaminated wells in Southern New Hampshire may be able to hook up to public water in the coming months. That’s since Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics in Merrimack agreed to pay for design efforts to extend public water to affected homes.

The agreement comes after the contaminant PFOA was found in well water surrounding the Saint-Gobain plant in Merrimack. Thomas Burack, Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Services, supports the plan. He says it means residents now living on bottled water in Litchfield could see their homes connected by the end of this construction season.  Those in Manchester, Merrimack, and Bedford could take longer.

President of Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics, Tom Kinisky, calls the decision a trade-off. His company’s alternative offer is to install “point of entry” filters in homes with contaminated wells. “You can get them on very quickly,” he says.  “If you build infrastructure, that may take time.”

Another variable is that some city water sources contain the contaminant below New Hampshire’s threshold of concern, 100 points per trillion, but above Vermont’s threshold, which is 20 points per trillion. That’s an issue about which some residents already on city water are voicing concern.