Environment

New Hampshire’s congressional delegation wants more federal study of PFAS chemical contamination in Merrimack.  

The federal lawmakers wrote last week to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, an arm of the Centers for Disease Control.

That office has helped investigate health effects of PFAS contamination on the Seacoast. Now, the delegation wants them to do the same in Merrimack.

Final hearings are scheduled to start this week on Eversource's proposed Seacoast transmission line – but delays at the state Site Evaluation Committee are still possible.

The Seacoast Reliability Project power line would span 13 miles between Madbury and Portsmouth, with one mile buried beneath Little Bay between Durham and Newington. 

Stuart Meek; Wikimedia Commons

Governor Chris Sununu wants federal regulators to speed up approval of new tick repellants and other products that could help prevent Lyme Disease in the state.

Sununu wrote a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency about the issue this week.

The EPA is currently reviewing insecticidal and repellant uses of substances like nootkatone, an essential oil found in grapefruit and Alaska cypress trees.

Credit Flickr Creative Commons | Nicholas A. Tonelli

Every other Friday on Morning Edition NHPR’s Sam Evans-Brown tracks down answers to questions about the environment and outdoors for our listeners in a segment we call “Ask Sam.”

NOAA

 

Avian flu and distemper may be to blame for a rash of seal deaths in Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts.

Southern Maine beaches have been beset with dead harbor seals in recent weeks, with dozens washing up stranded or having perished. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says Thursday that the first batch of sampled seals have tested preliminarily positive for either avian influenza or phocine distemper virus.

Four seals have tested positive for both viruses.

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

Residents of the Manchester area got a chance on Tuesday to ask representatives of Liberty Utilities about its proposed natural gas pipeline, The Granite Bridge.

The 27-mile pipeline would link two existing pipelines in New Hampshire that run north to south. It would be buried along Route 101, between Stratham and Manchester, and would include a large liquefied natural gas storage tank in Epping.

Wikimedia Commons

A sewage facility in the works in the town of Plymouth will give the state a new market for recycled cooking oils, fats and grease.

There's only one plant in New Hampshire that currently processes what's known as FOG, which comes from places like commercial kitchens. FOG can cause costly, unsanitary sewer overflows and gum up standard wastewater treatment systems.

The state’s existing FOG disposal facility is in Allenstown.

Courtesy

A solar company, a honey maker and an environmental group will celebrate the honey bee Saturday in Rye.

ReVision Energy's director of market development, Dan Weeks, says honey bees are threatened by climate change, fossil fuel pollution and other environmental hazards.

Companies like his want to help fix those problems, Weeks says, "because we see fossil fuel dependence, rising temperatures, carbon pollution as a factor harming honey bees, as well as a lot of other species."

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

New data is shedding light on the possible source of PFAS chemical contamination at the Coakley Landfill Superfund site on the Seacoast.

The data comes from a contractor for the Coakley Landfill Group, the towns and businesses responsible for pollution at the landfill.

They voluntarily analyzed water from Berry's Brook, which runs out from the landfill and was found last year to contain high levels of PFAS chemicals.

Those are man-made substances that are slow to biodegrade and have been linked to cancer and other diseases.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

The Coakley Landfill on New Hampshire’s Seacoast is back in the headlines, more than 30 years after it became a Superfund site.

Neighbors are again worried the site could be poisoning their drinking water, after a rash of childhood cancer cases nearby and the discovery of dangerously high levels of PFAS chemicals at the landfill.

That’s despite local officials' promises that the landfill is safe, under control and not a threat to nearby residents. In fact, they say the landfill is mostly just misunderstood.

flickr/creative commons

The mayors of New Hampshire's 13 cities are pushing back against Gov. Chris Sununu's recent veto of two energy bills.

The mayors plan to send a letter to legislative leaders, asking them to overturn the vetoes in September.

Flickr Creative Commons | Andiseño Estudio

 

 

Every other Friday on Morning Edition NHPR’s Sam Evans-Brown tracks down answers to questions about the environment and outdoors for our listeners in a segment we call “Ask Sam.”

Kenny, calling from his van, asks: “I’m wondering if, like I saw in a TED talk, if we could spray chalk into the atmosphere to reflect sunlight to solve global warming?”

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

New Hampshire’s Department of Fish & Game is facing a potential lawsuit over water pollution from its largest fish hatchery.

The Conservation Law Foundation told the state Thursday it plans to file a Clean Water Act lawsuit this fall, unless the state begins working to fix the alleged problems within 60 days.

The Powder Mill hatchery in New Durham grows trout and salmon to stock state fishing areas, and it’s expanded in the past decade or so.

Courtesy of Loon Mountain

A new study from Plymouth State University and the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest says New Hampshire ski areas will have fewer days to make snow each winter as the climate warms.

Co-author Geoff Wilson of the Cary Institute says they already knew the White Mountains were warming faster during the winter than at other times of the year.

For this study, he says they worked with nearby Loon Mountain Resort to see how warming is affecting ski areas.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

A first-of-its-kind water treatment system is up and running at Pease International Tradeport.

The plant uses a new regenerative resin process to scrub extremely high levels of PFAS chemicals out of the groundwater beneath a former military fire training area.

Flickr Creative Commons | blueskyfantasie

Every other Friday on Morning Edition NHPR’s Sam Evans-Brown tracks down answers to questions about the outdoors for our listeners in a segment we call “Ask Sam.” 

Via Youtube (Link to video in the story)

About 30 people gathered at the Urban Forestry Center in Portsmouth on Thursday to learn more an invasive species known as jumping, or snake, worms. 

Many of the gardeners wanted to know: how do we get rid of them?

New Hampshire will get more than $11 million from the Environmental Protection Agency this year for drinking water infrastructure upgrades.

The state gets at least $8 million a year from the federal Drinking Water State Revolving Fund. The allocation is higher this year, despite recent cuts to the program by Congress.

NHDES

State officials gathered Thursday for an update on the drought that now covers all of Southern and Central New Hampshire.

They typically hold this meeting once a drought has persisted for several weeks. This one began in May and may spread to the whole state by fall.

The state’s last drought management working group meeting was in 2016, when drought came on more slowly than this year’s, but ended up lasting longer and being more severe.  

Flickr Creative Commons | Steven Guzzardi

This is the inaugural edition of a new segment we’ll be doing every other Friday on Morning Edition: “Ask Sam” in which NHPR’s Sam Evans-Brown tracks down answers to questions about the outdoors for our listeners.

Do Drought Conditions Affect Fall foliage?

Oh my gosh, Stephanie, Isn’t it a bit early to already be having fall foliage anxiety‽

SANBORN HEAD

An environmental group is challenging state approval of an expansion plan at the region’s largest landfill – Turnkey in Rochester.

The Conservation Law Foundation filed the appeal with New Hampshire’s Department of Environmental Services Wednesday.

It reiterates earlier arguments that expanding Turnkey Landfill goes against a state policy of trying to reduce waste. And it says the landfill’s owner, Waste Management, should address potential water contamination around the landfill before getting to expand it.

Hiveminder.com

The Environmental Protection Agency wants public input on its recommendation for cleaning up a toxic waste site in Nashua.

The Mohawk Tannery is a proposed Superfund site in a residential area along the Nashua River. It produced tanned leather from the 1920s to the 1980s, leaving acidic sludge, dioxanes and arsenic in the ground.

Via Youtube (Link to video in the story)

An invasive earthworm may be on the move in New Hampshire.

The University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension is hosting a public seminar later this month about a fast, hungry species called the "jumping worm" that was recently introduced to North America from eastern Asia.

Watch a video the worms here.

File photo

Concord's city council will vote Monday night on setting a city-wide goal of using all-renewable energy sources within a few decades. It's the second time they've discussed the plan, and this time, it's expected to pass.

Rob Werner is a Concord city councilor who helped write the energy resolution. He says the first time council took it up, they heard concerns from the city's chamber of commerce and conservation committee, and that the plan came off as too binding.

Flikr Creative Commons / clrlakesand

Divers will be out in Lake Winnisquam this summer removing invasive milfoil by hand. It’s the first comprehensive attempt to manage the weed in New Hampshire’s fourth-largest lake.

The newly formed Winnisquam Watershed Network got $46,000 in state and local funds for the project.

They’ll send out divers from now until September to remove the feathery milfoil from mucky shoreline areas by pulling it out at the roots. They’ll also use suction hoses and, later this fall, herbicide on some denser growths.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

The state will hold a public hearing later this month on a private company's bid to buy Mount Sunapee Resort.

Colorado-based Vail announced last month it planned to buy Mount Sunapee Resort in Newbury, along with three other ski resorts in Vermont, Colorado and Washington.

Vail has said it plans to increase capital spending and investments at the four resorts by millions once the purchases go through.

 

A new online guide aims to track the bacteria levels of the Connecticut River at nearly 200 sites throughout New England.

The Connecticut River Conservancy's "Is It Clean?" webpage lists results from testing done for E. coli at nearly 200 sites in Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and northern Connecticut. 

Sven Klippel / Creative Commons

State officials say it could be weeks before they have a long-term cleanup plan after an oil spill at the Omni Mount Washington Hotel.

The spill of heavy, number-6 heating oil happened in June, near one of the hotel's boilers.

State waste management director Mike Wimsatt says the fuel, also known as bunker oil, may have been soaking into the ground there for some time without the hotel's knowledge.

Eversource

Eversource is doubling down on what it says will be the best way to run a new power line under the Seacoast's Little Bay. 

The transmission line known as the Seacoast Reliability Project is how Eversource wants to meet the mandates of New England’s electric grid operator.

First proposed in 2016, the project includes a mile of cable buried beneath Little Bay, between Durham and Newington.

Robert Lawton / Creative Commons

New rules took effect Sunday for managing stormwater runoff in dozens of New Hampshire towns.

The Environmental Protection Agency permit for small municipal stormwater systems will last until 2023.

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