Lebanon looking at PFOA fixes

A satellite map of Lebanon’s landfill and recycling facility on Route 12 A.

LEBANON — With new state standards that deal with the level of PFOA chemicals allowed in drinking water, Lebanon is looking at potential costs.

“It has the potential to be very, very expensive for this community,” said Shaun Mulholland, Lebanon’s city manager.

Lebanon found out earlier this year it has a potential problem with PFOA chemicals, found at the solid waste facility, getting into the wastewater system, Mulholland said.

The New Hampshire standard for PFOA in drinking water is set at 70 parts per trillion, the same as the federal limit. However, New Hampshire is likely to change the benchmark to the lower 38 parts per trillion.

Lebanon’s levels are between 38 parts per trillion and 70 parts per trillion for the most part, Mulholland said. If the new standards go into effect, the city would be out of compliance.

The water that leeches from the solid waste facility into the wastewater treatment plant comes in at 1,200 parts per trillion, Mulholland said. The material is treated before the water is released again into the Connecticut River at 15 parts per trillion. The majority of the PFOA chemicals remain in the sludge, which is then dumped back into the solid waste facility, he said.

The chemicals have been found in drinking water in Merrimack and Litchfield, as well as in Portsmouth near the Pease Air National Guard base. The contamination in those locations led to the push to change the New Hampshire drinking water standards. The contamination has also resulted in millions of dollars in remediation.

This week, the city council is set to meet to hear proposals from an outside firm, Sanborn Head, on potential fixes for the issue. The city is also planning a public hearing for later in July on changing the landfill regulations.