State investigating source of water contamination at Kingston fire station

By Jason Schreiber, originally posted on November 3, 2016


KINGSTON — State environmental officials continue to investigate the source of the contaminant perfluorooctanoic acid found in well water at the Kingston Fire Department.

Recent testing by the state Department of Environmental Services indicated elevated levels of the contaminant, commonly referred to as PFOA, in the water.

Results showed the water contained 140 parts per trillion (ppt) of PFOA. A newly adopted state groundwater quality standard for PFOA is 70 ppt.

PFOA is a chemical used in cleaning products, pesticides and other industrial and commercial products that some fear could pose health risks.

The investigation into the PFOA at the Kingston fire station is part of a larger look at levels in other parts of southern New Hampshire, including at Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics in Merrimack, where PFOA contamination was found in water samples and in wells in the surrounding area.

The state tested 10 additional wells near the fire station, but none showed elevated levels of PFOA, according to Jim Martin, public information officer for DES.

Nine of those wells were residential and one was from a community-type well, he said.

Martin said the source of the PFOA is still not known.

“We are certainly working as aggressively as possible. We have a strong dedicated group. We’ve been meeting on this overall investigation weekly since it occurred and we will continue to do so for the foreseeable future,” he said.

Since the discovery, the fire department has stopped drinking its water and is now using bottled water. The fire department was allowing residents affected by the drought to draw water from an outdoor spigot, but they are now being urged to use water from the Kingston Community Library.

Martin encouraged other well owners in the vicinity of the fire station to contact the state about additional testing.

Learn More