Environmental Protection Agency

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The state has released its plans for new limits on four types of likely harmful PFAS chemicals in public water systems.

The new regulations would apply to four of the thousands of known PFAS chemicals.

They were once widely used to manufacture firefighting foams and protective coatings on everything from furniture, carpets and clothing to cookware and food packaging. 

Dan Tuohy for NHPR

Most of New Hampshire’s riverside mills and factories have closed. But they’ve left their mark - and in some cases, a lot of toxic waste.

For decades, Nashua has struggled with what to do with waste from the Mohawk Tannery, a factory that produced leather for sixty years. Now, the city is considering a private-public partnership to clean it up, but the details are still up for debate.

Annie Ropeik for NHPR

The EPA says new types of nonstick industrial chemicals might not be much safer than their predecessors – raising alarm in parts of New Hampshire.

For years, companies used fluorinated chemicals like PFOA and PFOS to make nonstick, waterproof or stain-resistant products.

Now, science suggests those chemicals can harm human health even at very low levels.

So industry has replaced them with similar compounds called GenX. They're all part of the PFAS family.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

The Environmental Protection Agency is honoring a water clean up activist on the Seacoast for her community organizing.

Testing for Pease co-founder Andrea Amico is this year’s only recipient of the EPA’s national award for citizen excellence in community involvement.

It’s been four years since Amico learned her family was exposed to dangerous levels of PFAS chemicals at Pease International Tradeport.

Public Service of New Hampshire

New Hampshire is the only New England state that didn't join a coalition opposing the proposed rollback of the Clean Power Plan.

The EPA wants to replace the Obama-era plan with a rule that loosens carbon emissions standards for coal-fired power plants.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

New Durham residents are frustrated by what they call slow progress in fixing pollution at the state’s largest fish hatchery.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

The head of the Environmental Protection Agency in New England has been tapped to lead the agency's national Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention office.

Alexandra Dunn is a long-time lawyer and environmental justice advocate who’s been the EPA's New England administrator for a little less than a year.

In this and other roles, she's worked with residents, industry and state officials in places like New Hampshire and Vermont to address chemical contamination in drinking water.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

New Englanders had a chance to speak out this week about what they want to see in new Environmental Protection Agency rules for industrial chemicals in drinking water – but residents say the proof that they were heard will be in what the regulators do next.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

New Hampshire residents can have their say Monday night about future federal regulations on a class of potentially toxic industrial chemicals called PFAS.

Exeter will host two days of New England-wide public meetings on the issue.

It’s the EPA’s first regional public engagement on its new standards for PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

The federal government has published new data about the health risks of industrial chemicals known as PFAS.

The Centers for Disease Control study backs the concerns of some residents in contaminated areas here in New Hampshire, who say federal and state limits on PFAS aren't strict enough.

Many lawmakers, including New Hampshire’s congressional delegation, called for the study’s release after reports that the White House and Environmental Protection Agency had sought to withhold the data.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Neighbors of the Coakley Landfill Superfund site in Greenland are optimistic the site may see further cleanup.

They met privately with top Environmental Protection Agency officials Monday.

The group held a press conference at the edge of a brook that runs alongside the landfill and contains high levels of potentially toxic PFAS chemicals.

“While this may have been called an emerging issue some time ago, it is now a top priority issue for the U.S. EPA,” said New England EPA Administrator Alexandra Dunn.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

The Environmental Protection Agency will meet Monday with residents who live near the Coakley Landfill Superfund site on the Seacoast.

An EPA spokesman says the agency’s New England administrator, the new head of the Superfund task force and others will be in Greenland to fulfill a promise to talk with neighbors about their concerns.

EPA

The Environmental Protection Agency will develop new regulations on certain industrial chemicals in drinking water. The substances, called PFAS, have been a problem on New Hampshire's Seacoast and elsewhere.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said at a summit on PFAS in Washington on Tuesday that they’ll talk about the issue in Portsmouth next month.

New Hampshire environmental regulators joined officials from at least 30 other states and tribes at the summit.

Via apartments.com

New Hampshire-based developer Brady Sullivan is facing calls for more investigations at a building it owns in Rhode Island.

The Environmental Protection Agency has confirmed a report that it's investigating potential lead contamination at the Harris Mill Lofts in Coventry, Rhode Island.

Jim Peaco / NPS

New Hampshire’s U.S. senators are criticizing the Trump administration for reportedly blocking the release of new data about chemicals called PFCs, which have raised contamination concerns in the state.

Emails obtained by Politico reportedly show White House and Environmental Protection Agency officials citing public relations fears in delaying publication of a PFC study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Six New Hampshire towns are getting $700,000 in federal grants to clean up contaminated industrial sites.

The money will be used to address brownfields -- sites where the Environmental Protection Agency says redevelopment might be complicated by contamination.

The North Country Council plans to use its grants to do environmental assessments in Berlin, Colebrook and Northumberland.

The Southwest Regional Planning Commission will do the same in Hinsdale and Winchester.

EPA Twitter

The Environmental Protection Agency says it will treat wood fuels from managed forests as carbon-neutral. It could give New Hampshire's timber industry some long-term certainty.

Charlie Niebling has worked around the Granite State's forest products industry for decades. He says scientists have never agreed on if biomass fuels, like wood chips, offset more carbon than they produce. 

 

Niebling thinks biomass can have a net carbon benefit if it's harvested from a well-managed forest and burned efficiently. 

 

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Some Seacoast residents were unhappy Thursday night to hear state and federal officials reiterate they don’t believe the Coakley Landfill is contaminating area drinking water.

Authorities say some groundwater wells around the Superfund site in North Hampton do show high levels of suspected carcinogens called PFCs – but they say the chemicals haven’t spread to private wells.

Grungetextures.com / Darren Hester/ Flickr CC

State lawmakers may take a closer look at giving New Hampshire control of its own storm water permits, now managed by the federal government.

New Hampshire is one of four states where the Environmental Protection Agency is in charge of storm water regulations.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Climate change is leaving a mark on one of New Hampshire's springtime rituals: maple sugaring.

Scientists and farmers dug into the latest research over pancakes in Plymouth on Tuesday.

Mount Washington Observatory research director Eric Kelsey says maple trees face a lot of stresses: abnormal storms, droughts, excess road salt, acid rain and new pests.

"And that might explain the general 25 percent decrease in sap-sugar content we've seen over the last 40 to 50 years,” Kelsey says.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Members of the New Hampshire legislature’s Seacoast Cancer Cluster Commission said they didn’t want to debate facts about Coakley Landfill and its effect on public health at their meeting Monday – but that’s mostly what they ended up doing.

State and federal regulators told legislators repeatedly they can’t prove or disprove whether Coakley Landfill Superfund Site is causing cancer on the Seacoast.

Weekly N.H. News Roundup: February 16, 2018

Feb 15, 2018

We parse the Governor's State of the State address for what it might tell us about his agenda for the state in 2018.  EPA chief Scott Pruitt jets into New Hampshire to meet privately about water contamination.  NHPR's Todd Bookman  unpacks allegations made against the NH Liquor Commission. And we follow up on the court battle over the lottery ticket that's been called the "most valuable piece of paper on Earth."  

GUESTS:  

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

The state commission on the Seacoast’s high cancer rates signaled Friday it would push for cleanup at Coakley Landfill, despite objections from the Environmental Protection Agency.

The legislators and public representatives who make up the Cancer Cluster Investigation Commission have a report due this fall on what's driving those cancer rates, and they’ve honed in on the EPA’s Coakley Landfill Superfund site as a likely culprit.

Representative Charles McMahon, a Republican from Windham, chairs the commission.  

Via USGS.gov

Lawmakers will consider at least a dozen bills about water contamination and other environmental hazards when they return to session in January.

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