Another Merrimack area site being tested for PFCs

NH DES awaiting results of water samples taken at manufacturing facility

The NH Department of Environmental Services is awaiting results for the possible presence of PFCs in water samples taken at the location of another manufacturing company in the greater Merrimack area.

The news comes just days after the agency announced it is contacting 44 manufacturing facilities in New Hampshire that may have used perfluorinated chemicals, or PFCs.

Jim Martin, public information officer at DES, told NH Business Review the company is one of manufacturers on the list, which DES has ranked by priority.

Martin said that several weeks ago, DES conducted water samples at the facility, which Martin said is in the greater Merrimack area, but he declined to reveal the name of the firm or its precise location. He did says tests were being conducted for PFCs in relation to the recent varying levels of PFOA in the area. PFOA, or synthetic perfluorooctanoic acid, is in the family of perfluorinated chemicals, which are used to produce non-stick coatings used for wires, fabrics and other materials.

“We would have expected to have [the results] by now,” said Martin. “The turnarounds from the lab are not meeting the expedited process requests,” he said.

He added that “there are no labs in New Hampshire that can perform this testing. Any labs that do this testing, they’re subcontracting it out to other laboratories.”

DES is currently using a lab located in Washington State. 

On the list of 44 sites of possible PFC users, which was released on Friday, Harcros Chemical Corp., North Country Wire, Tech NH Inc., Texas Instruments Inc. and WesBell Electronics Inc., are the manufacturers located in Merrimack. Wire Belt Company of America and Kluber Lubrication North America LP are located in nearby Londonderry.

“There were some companies on that list that we know used PFCs in their manufacturing process, and those are clearly priorities,” said Martin.

DES was able to determine that some of the manufacturers that have used PFCs through permitting and other regulatory information.

The investigation stems from early March, when Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics contacted DES after internal water sampling revealed low levels of PFOA, at 30 parts per trillion, from water supplied by the Merrimack Village Water District. Subsequent testing has revealed levels ranging from non-detect to over 400 parts per trillion in residential wells.

Martin said that DES has reached out to other manufacturers in the state through certified mail or phone calls and is waiting to hear back from them before planning future water sampling at manufacturing facilities.

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