New Hampshire PFAS FAQs

Throughout the northeast and across the nation, state and local officials, health departments, and water utilities including Aquarion have focused their attention on a group of man-made chemicals called per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) that have been detected in drinking waters, including public and private water supplies, and bottled water. Some health officials indicate that consumer products, food, and cookware represent the largest exposure of PFAS to people. However, drinking water contaminated with PFAS can also be a source of exposure.


For Aquarion’s Water System serving Hampton, North Hampton, and Rye, NH

Has Aquarion tested for PFAS in tap water? Were any PFAS detected?

Yes, Aquarion has tested samples from multiple tap water locations for PFAS. PFAS levels are low; generally, less than the lowest level that can be quantified (4 parts per trillion).

pfas table

1 Click here for detailed list of PFAS 

2 ppt = parts per trillion; 1 part per trillion equals 1 nanogram per liter

3Final maximum contaminant levels may be lower.


The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) is currently working on setting drinking water standards for four PFAS compounds: perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluoroctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA), and perfluorohexanesulfonic acid (PFHxS). Go to https://www4.des.state.nh.us/nh-pfas-investigation/ for information on this regulation setting process.

Yes, PFAS have been detected in most of the wells, in most cases at very low concentrations.  Although some wells (6, 9, 11 & 14) consistently show higher levels of more PFAS compounds than the other twelve wells, no sample results have exceeded the Health Advisory Limit, nor have they exceeded the currently proposed maximum contaminant levels.

For additional testing details, please click on the link below.

PFAS Data Table

Bar Graphs

Aquarion has tested water from each of its 16 wells.

In 2014 and 2015, Aquarion did this testing as a requirement from the EPA. Since 2016, Aquarion has performed PFAS testing voluntarily.

Aquarion continues to monitor PFAS concentrations in water samples from wells and tap water, and regularly reviews this data with NHDES and town officials.  Aquarion is working with NHDES to identify potential PFAS sources.

Aquarion is also assessing alternatives for PFAS removal and their associated costs.

PFAS can enter a drinking water supply through industrial and commercial releases to water or air, discharges from sewage treatment plants, leaching from septic systems and landfills, land application of contaminated sludge, and use of fire-fighting foam.

Currently, the exact sources of PFAS found in Aquarion’s wells are uncertain.  Due to their presence in so many products used in society, PFAS appear to be almost ubiquitous in the environment. NHDES considers PFAS concentrations less than 10 ppt to be background levels.  Aquarion is collaborating with NHDES to identify the potential sources of these compounds in our wells.

Aquarion has done a lot of work in conjunction with various stakeholders and experts to better understand the presence of PFAS in our wells, where it is coming from, and how to protect our wells and drinking water from PFAS. To date, several potential sources have been identified. One of these sources, a wastewater discharge from a nearby car wash, has been shut down by NHDES and is no longer discharging PFAS compounds into the ground near our Mill Road wells. Together, we are making progress.

There is still more to learn and do. Aquarion believes that it is important to identify, investigate and abate all significant potential sources of PFAS that could be contaminating drinking water supplies. The additional studies that are planned in the vicinity of the Coakley Landfill should be helpful in determining whether PFAS contamination from Coakley is migrating far enough to contaminate our wells and or private wells in the area. However, to date, there is no clear evidence that Coakley is contaminating our wells. Aquarion remains committed to working with our partners to protect private and public drinking water in the Hampton area.

Water is pumped from 16 state-approved wells in Hampton, North Hampton, Rye, and Stratham. It is treated and delivered to customers through an extensive underground piping system.

The Aquarion water system serves about 24,000 residents in Hampton, North Hampton, and Rye, plus thousands of visitors and tourists.

Aquarion’s wells supply an average of 2.1 million gallons of water per day to the system.

Download Map PDF


well location map new hampshire

 

Relatively higher levels of PFAS are observed in Well 6.  In August 2017, Well 6 was shut off because it was not needed to meet summer demands after that time. It was also shut to allow Aquarion to conduct further PFAS sampling. This information helped us to develop a better understanding of the distribution and concentration of PFAS in the area.

Since then, Well 6 has remained off except when needed to meet peak summer demands.  Well 6 is used last, only when needed, and blended with other wells to minimize PFAS concentrations in tap water.