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DHHS Home > Division of Public Health Services > Perfluorochemicals (PFCs) >
Pease Tradeport Water System Investigation

lab technician doing testingThe New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (DES) was notified by the U.S. Air Force on May 12, 2014 that analysis of water samples they had collected on April 16, 2014 detected levels of a chemical known as perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS). The level was above the Provisional Health Advisory (PHA) level set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the Haven water supply well located on the Pease Tradeport. Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) was also elevated but at a level just below the PHA.

PFOS and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) were detected at the Smith and Harrison wells, the two other water supply wells located on the Tradeport, but at levels below the EPA provisional health advisory at the time. Since then, the EPA’s provisional Health Advisory, which applied to short-term drinking water exposure, has been updated to a lifetime Health Advisory level. Additional PFCs, for which there are no Health Advisory levels established, were also tested for and detected at the three wells, including perfluorohexane sulfonic acid (PFHxS).

DES immediately notified the City of Portsmouth of the lab results on May 12, and City officials immediately shut down the Haven well. DES, EPA and the Air Force are conducting additional testing and investigations. It is unclear if and when the well will be used again.

In September 2016, the City of Portsmouth finished installing two granular activated carbon vessels (GACs) to filter and remove perflourinated chemicals (PFCs) from the Harrison and Smith Wells at the existing Grafton Road water facility at the Pease Tradeport.

In 2015, the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services began a blood testing program for people who had lived on, worked on, or attended child care on the Pease Tradeport. A total of 1,578 individuals had their blood tested for PFCs between April to October 2015. Since the summer of 2016, DHHS has re-opened PFC blood testing for those exposed on the Pease Tradeport.

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