CONCORD — The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services has filed a final rulemaking proposal to establish maximum contaminant levels for drinking water standards and ambient groundwater quality standards for four per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), including: perfluorooctanoic acid, perfluorooctanesulfonic acid, perfluorononanoic acid and perfluorohexanesulfonic acid to ensure greater protection of public health related to the consumption of drinking water.

The rulemaking proposal was filed with the New Hampshire Joint Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules for consideration at its July 18 meeting. If approved, the new rules are scheduled to become effective on Oct. 1.

The proposed changes are drinking water quality standards that non-transient public water systems (water systems serving the same 25 people more than six months per year) would have to comply with.

An ambient groundwater quality standard is the standard used to require remedial action and the provision of alternative drinking water at a contaminated site. It also dictates the conditions under which treated and untreated wastewater may be discharged to groundwater. Current law requires these standards be the same value as any maximum contaminant level established by DES and also that they be at least as stringent as health advisories set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

In 2016, the state adopted EPA’s health advisory for perfluorooctanoic acid and perfluorohexanesulfonic acid as an ambient groundwater quality standard at 70 parts per trillion individually or combined.

To establish maximum contaminant levels for PFAS, the state had to consider the extent to which the contaminants are found in New Hampshire, the ability to detect them in public water systems, the ability to remove the contaminant from drinking water, and the costs and benefits to affected parties that will result from establishing the standard.

Included with the final proposal, DES is providing a summary technical report on the development of the drinking water standards  including an explanation of the health risk assessment for each compound and information on cost, benefit, occurrence, and ability to detect and treat these chemicals. That summary technical report can be found at tinyurl.com/y2cv7zlu.

A discussion of the summary technical report with interested stakeholders will be conducted in the NHDES Auditorium (29 Hazen Dr. in Concord) on July 9, 2019, at 9:00 am. If you wish to attend please provide a courtesy RSVP via email to james.martin@des.nh.gov Attendees are reminded to bring a government furnished picture ID for entrance.

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