Study Finds No Unsafe PFAS Levels In Fish Near Coakley Landfill

Sep 17, 2018

Berry's Brook runs from behind the landfill, in North Hampton, into Rye and Greenland.
Credit Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Officials say fish in a brook near the Coakley Landfill Superfund site are not a risk to public health.

Berry’s Brook was found to contain dangerously high levels of toxic PFAS chemicals in 2017.

Portsmouth and the rest of the Coakley Landfill Group tested the fish in that brook at the request of the Environmental Protection Agency, after public pressure.

And they didn't find any fish with PFAS levels above what the EPA and state considers safe. The most-fished species in the brook -- brown trout -- had the lowest PFAS levels of all.

Meanwhile, a few eels and shiner were found to contain higher PFAS levels than the Centers for Disease Control says may be safe.

(Click here to read the full fish testing report submitted to the EPA.)

Even so, Landfill Group administrator Peter Britz says it’d be very difficult for a person to catch and eat enough fish to face any health risks. 

“It’s not an intensive fishery by any stretch," he says. "It’s not like people are bringing home fish every day and eating them.”

The Landfill Group is still working on studying the potential sources of the PFAS in the brook.

Berry’s Brook has been under a state catch-and-release order since March of this year.