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Cancer cluster task force hears recommendations

By KIMBERLEY HAAS
Union Leader Correspondent

November 09. 2016 11:43PM
Retired state Sen. Nancy Stiles, R-Hampton, said what happened at Coakley Landfill could happen at any New Hampshire landfill. Contaminants are being discovered in drinking water around the Superfund site. (KIMBERLEY HAAS/Union Leader Correspondent)

PORTSMOUTH — Members of the public concerned about a deadly pediatric cancer cluster on the Seacoast learned more about recommendations being considered by a task force created by Gov. Maggie Hassan Wednesday afternoon.

State Representative-elect Mindi Messmer, D-Rye, presented the task force with recommendations from a subcommittee which focused on drinking water around the Coakley Landfill in Greenland. She explained the bedrock below the landfill is porous, so contaminants can spread to surrounding neighborhoods.

In August, perfluorooctanoic acid and perfluorooctane sulfonate were found in some of the 20 wells tested just off the Superfund site. The evaluations were performed in response to a test that showed eight other monitoring wells near Coakley’s borders had combined PFOA and PFOS concentrations above the New Hampshire Ambient Groundwater Quality Standard of 70 parts-per-trillion.

Messmer suggested providing bottled water to residents where PFCs or other contaminants are detected and quarterly testing for homeowners and businesses within a 1-mile radius of the Groundwater Management Zone.

Messmer also alerted the task force to two Rye landfills which could also have contamination issues, the Breakfast Hill and Grove Road Landfills. She said the landfills may have taken toxic ash from Pease Air Force Base when it was active.

Retired state Senator Nancy Stiles, R-Hampton, made sure to point out that what happened at Coakley could happen at any landfill in New Hampshire.

“We have known Coakley has been a concern for a long time. We want to make sure drinking water is pure for everyone in our state,” Stiles said.

There were just over 20 members of the public at the meeting. Some of the people speaking at these public meetings have been pushing task force members to recommend state legislation lowering the standard of 70 parts-per-trillion. Deb White of Rye asked about these standards again.

A public tour of the Coakley Landfill is scheduled for this morning. It starts at 9 a.m. in the back parking lot of Bethany Church on Breakfast Hill Road in Greenland.


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