Update on PFOA waterline extension plan

MERRIMACK – Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics provided an update on its efforts to provide public drinking water to Bedford properties impacted by perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), on Tuesday, Aug. 15. Three design estimates to provide public water to 61 properties in Bedford, which were prepared by Pennichuck Corporation and delivered to Saint-Gobain on Aug. 8, were reviewed with the town of Bedford and the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES).

One option proposes to extend public water from the Merrimack Village District Water Works, the other two options propose extending public water from the Manchester Water Works. All options present challenges that require further consideration.

The Merrimack Village District option requires a booster pump station, however, the location for this has yet to be determined.

The other two options each require approximately two additional miles of water main which will increase costs and extend construction impacts in the community. During the meeting, representatives from the town of Bedford expressed their preference for the Manchester water works options and offered a number of proposals to reduce the cost difference for one of the Manchester Water Works designs.

Following a complete review by Saint-Gobain, one of the options will be presented to their corporate management for approval by Sept. 22. A public meeting will be held following the Sept. 22 decision. According to Saint-Gobain, if approved, the project construction may be initiated in 2017, but will need to be completed in the spring of 2018.

Separate from this work, a design effort for 23 homes in Bedford in the South River Road area is now underway. This design will move on a different timeline because Manchester water works water mains are already located within the area of these homes, making them easier to connect. A decision related to these properties is expected this fall and, if approved, construction would move forward on a separate timeline.

NHDES has also requested that Saint-Gobain connect an additional 39 properties in Bedford to public water, but Saint-Gobain has indicated to NHDES that it believes these areas were affected by other PFOA sources. NHDES and Saint-Gobain continue to review, evaluate and investigate these areas. Decisions regarding these properties will proceed on a separate timeline.

“NHDES is concerned with the proposed timeline to connect Bedford residents to public water. It is unfortunate that most if not all of the impacted residents will need to go through another winter before being connected,” said Clark Freise, assistant commissioner at NHDES. “NHDES has asked Saint-Gobain to work closely with the town of Bedford in their efforts to select a solution.”

– Submitted by New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services