Drinking Water | New Hampshire Public Radio

Drinking Water

Writers On A New England Stage: Erin Brockovich

May 7, 2021

The Exchange presents a special broadcast of Writers on a New England Stage with environmental activist Erin Brockovich. 

NHDES / NHPR annotation

State regulators will give an update Thursday night on drinking water contamination in Bedford, in the first of a series of upcoming public meetings around the Saint-Gobain plastics factory in Merrimack.

NHDES

With another drought developing in much of the state as of this Earth Day, Gov. Chris Sununu is urging affected residents to take advantage of an emergency aid program.

Much of southern and western New Hampshire is in moderate drought, with abnormally dry conditions in the rest of the state. Without more sustained precipitation, forecasters say, the drought could worsen in the coming weeks.

NHDES

New Hampshire is likely headed into an early spring drought despite recent rain and snow, according to the latest national forecast – and state officials are already warning of the potential drinking water impacts.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

The state and the Saint-Gobain plastics factory in Merrimack will settle a dispute over chemical treatment technology with a consent decree.

The agreement, filed Friday in Hillsborough County Superior Court, comes after the factory missed a February deadline to make upgrades that would prevent excess emissions of toxic PFAS chemicals.

Pease Air National Guard tower
Dan Tuohy / NHPR

At the former Pease Air Base in Portsmouth, scientists are resuming a pair of pioneering research studies on chemical contamination in drinking water. It could provide some of the best evidence to date of risks posed by the industrial compounds known as PFAS. 

But despite more than a year of effort, organizers say they're having trouble recruiting enough families to join, which could hamper efforts to treat a growing public health crisis.

Melissa Lombard / USGS

New federal research shows drought can increase the risk of unsafe arsenic levels in private drinking water wells -- especially in New Hampshire, Maine and the Midwest, where arsenic in wells is already a problem.

The study from the U.S. Geological Survey comes as forecasters predict the country's worst spring drought since 2013, affecting tens of millions of people, especially in the Western half of the country.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Federal officials say they’ve definitively linked three contaminated water wells in Greenland to the Seacoast’s Coakley Landfill Superfund site.

The Environmental Protection Agency gave a public update on the site Wednesday night, for the first time since 2019.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

After years of efforts to address toxic chemical emissions from the Saint-Gobain plastics factory in Merrimack, New Hampshire and the town are separately suing the company for delays in the installation of a required treatment system.

The lawsuits filed this week in Hillsborough Superior Court focus on air emissions of harmful PFAS chemicals, which have settled into drinking water serving hundreds of homes in the area.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

A continuación, encuentra las noticias del lunes 16 de noviembre. 

Puedes escucharlas haciendo click en el audio o leerlas.

Una nota: Lo escrito es nuestro guión para nuestras grabaciones. Tenlo en cuenta si ven algunas anotaciones diferentes.

Los casos de COVID-19 en New Hampshire siguen aumentando, con más de 2,000 nuevas infecciones detectadas la semana pasada

Funcionarios de salud reportaron 361 [trescientos sesenta y un] nuevas infecciones de COVID en New Hampshire este domingo. 

NHPR file

New Hampshire wants the Air Force to cover the cost of drinking water assistance for three homes near the former Pease Air Base with PFAS chemical contamination in their home wells.

It's the latest escalation in a dispute over whether the Air Force has to follow New Hampshire's new limits on PFAS in drinking water as part of ongoing groundwater cleanup around Pease. 

NHDES

October was New Hampshire's wettest month since April, but the state's drought is still extreme in and around Strafford County.

All of the rest of the state remains in moderate drought. At a virtual multi-agency meeting Thursday, state officials said there hasn’t been enough rain recently to alleviate this.

Jonathan W. Chipman / Dartmouth College

Researchers at Dartmouth College are studying ways that doctors can encourage more homeowners to test their private water wells for toxins such as arsenic.

New Hampshire has lots of natural arsenic in its groundwater, and is working toward halving its limit on arsenic in public water systems – joining New Jersey as the only states to differ from the default federal standard.

But as much as half of New Hampshire and the rest of Northern New England relies on unregulated private wells for drinking water. 

Gunstock Mountain via Twitter

A new state aid program has already gotten more than 60 requests for bottled water from people whose wells have run dry as a result of the drought, which has persisted in Southeastern New Hampshire despite recent rain and snow.

The dry conditions have improved in much of the state and region, but remain extreme in much of Rockingham and Strafford Counties and surrounding areas, as well as in southern Maine and from Cape Cod into Rhode Island.

Are you noticing any issues with your home's water supply? Send us an email with your story.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

The state is offering emergency aid and bottled water for low-income homeowners whose drinking water wells are running dry due to the ongoing drought.

The state’s Drinking Water and Groundwater Trust Fund is putting up $1.5 million for the relief program, which is the first of its kind in any drought. 

Low-income homeowners whose private wells have run dry can request temporary free deliveries of bottled water for drinking and cooking.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Despite some recent rain, New Hampshire’s drought is growing, causing wells to run dry across the state. And the hotter temperatures of a changing climate could make future droughts more likely. 

As part of NHPR’s By Degrees project, Annie Ropeik reports on how the dry conditions are affecting people who rely on well water, and what it would take to prepare for the future.  

Merlene Whiting Pilotte / Courtesy

More than 10 percent of New Hampshire is now in an extreme drought, with Lake Winnipesaukee and other reservoirs at record low levels and an increasing number of water wells running dry.

Thursday marks the restart of widespread testing for PFAS chemicals in New Hampshire’s public water supplies, after a year-long delay due to a lawsuit from PFAS-maker 3M.

PFAS are industrial chemicals, widely found in groundwater and linked to health problems including liver and kidney disease, high cholesterol and reproductive, developmental and immune issues, as well as potentially some cancers.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Part of New Hampshire has entered an extreme drought for only the second time in 20 years.

The extreme conditions center on the Dover area and extend in a circle from Great Bay, to near Concord, up to the Lakes Region.

The rest of the state is in severe drought, with moderate conditions in the Upper Valley and Monadnock Valley. 

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

New Hampshire’s ongoing drought has worsened again, with severe dryness now spreading into Grafton County and escalating impacts to surface water and agriculture.

At a meeting Thursday, officials said nearly the entire state remains in a drought, with the worst of it stretching from the Seacoast into the lower White Mountains.

wikimedia commons

Congresswoman Annie Kuster is co-sponsoring a new plan to add toxic PFAS chemical standards to the next federal defense spending bill.

The amendment mirrors a bill that passed the House earlier this year. Speaking on a press call Tuesday, Kuster said that bill has stalled in the Senate.

A new study says children drinking from private water wells may be more likely to have unsafe levels of lead in their bloodstreams.

Jessica Hunt / NHPR

Southern New Hampshire looks to be headed for a drought this summer, after more than a month without any significant rainfall following a low-snow winter.

The state got about half an inch of rain on May 15. 

NHPR

A state Senate committee signed off this week on a package of bills designed to address PFAS chemical contamination. 

The new omnibus bill got bipartisan support and combines several proposals from the House and Senate. 

It would re-authorize the state's tight new limits on four kinds of PFAS, industrial chemicals linked to health problems. 

wikimedia commons

State water regulators say New Hampshire businesses may need to flush their pipes as they reopen for the first time since March.

The Department of Environmental Services says water may have stagnated in pipes that got little or no use in recent weeks.  This can lead to unsafe levels of lead and copper or conditions where bacteria like Legionella can grow.

Suscribe to our newsletter to get the latest updates on COVID-19 in New Hampshire.

John K via Flickr CC

Voters in Windham are considering a measure to get water to areas polluted by the chemical PFAS.  The proposed 1.6-mile water line would run along Route 111 through Windham's main commercial area.

NHPR

A plan to offer loans for New Hampshire towns to cover the cost of new limits on PFAS chemicals in drinking water got bipartisan support from state lawmakers Tuesday.

The state's strict PFAS limits were supposed to take effect last fall, but are on hold under a court injunction.

File photo

New Hampshire environmentalists and lawmakers say a new Trump administration rule could lead to more drinking water pollution.

The rule is a replacement for the Obama-era regulation known as Waters of the U.S., or WOTUS. Trump has long argued it was too burdensome to farmers and developers.

Trump’s now-final WOTUS replacement will remove federal oversight from millions of miles of wetlands and streams that don't feed directly into navigable waterways.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR News

Candidates campaigning in the final stretch of the New Hampshire presidential primary are redoubling their focus on environmental issues that have long been priorities for local voters.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

The state of New Hampshire says it will not require that public water supplies be tested for toxic PFAS chemicals by the end of the year, contrary to earlier advice.

The state’s strict new PFAS standards will be suspended Dec. 31 under a court injunction, after industry and municipal groups challenged the rules earlier this fall.

Pages