Low levels of water contamination still detected at Merrimack schools

Union Leader Correspondent MERRIMACK — As school officials continue to explore the possibility of installing central filtration systems at each of the schools, new test results detecting low levels of water contamination have been announced.
At Reeds Ferry Elementary School, 17 parts per trillion of perfluorooctanoic acid was discovered in water samples taken at the school last month, which is lower than the state’s advisory level of 70 ppt.
At Merrimack High School the water samples detected 20 ppt, at Merrimack Middle School the samples read 19 ppt, at Mastricola Elementary School the test results were 18 ppt and at Thorntons Ferry Elementary School 15 ppt of PFOA was discovered in the water, according to Assistant Superintendent Matt Shevenell.
“I would probably expect the same results as the other schools,” he told the school board last week.
Despite New Hampshire’s advisory level of 70 ppt for a combination of PFOA and other contaminants, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection recently accepted the standard of 14 ppt for PFOA, which is closer to Vermont’s threshold of 20 ppt.
“It would be a good point of information,” said Thompson, specifically since the new level was based on PFOA consumption in adolescents.
Since then, hundreds of homes in the region have been receiving bottled water and homes with private contaminated wells are in the process of being hooked up to municipal water.
Previously, school officials received a quote of about $1 million to install a district-wide filtration system for all water at all local schools.
Both of those options, he said, will be discussed in the upcoming budget process.

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