Water treatment facility aimed at cleaning up PFAS opens at Pease

Facility is a culmination of 7-year effort to identify, address problem

May 04, 2021

PORTSMOUTH, N.H. -

A new water treatment facility has opened at Pease International Tradeport, the culmination of a seven-year effort to deal with contaminants in the drinking water.

It was seven years ago this month that tests confirmed elevated levels of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances in the water. The chemicals were traced to firefighting foam used when the facility was an airbase.

"It's nice to be getting on the other side of it where we can say the Air Force has invested now $65 million into the water treatment and water processing at Pease," said Jennifer Miller, acting assistant secretary of the U.S. Air Force. "We have a lot more to do."

Many officials credited Pease mother Andrea Amico, who started the group Pease Moms, with starting the push to clean up the water.

"Knowing that my children were here at Pease in day care drinking the water every day, my husband was working for a company at Pease drinking the water every day -- I just knew that I couldn't do nothing," she said.

Her group's continued activism, advocacy and determination pushed officials to correct the issue and keep tabs on those exposed, leading to a study being conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"I like to say I'm just as persistent as PFAS," Amico said. "I'm not going away."

"It was that action that really got us in at the beginning of responding to PFAS in the country, and this community was one of the first in the nation to take action," said U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-New Hampshire.

More than 320 other Air Force or former Air Force facilities are dealing with issues similar to Pease. Officials said the way it's being handled at Pease is a model for the rest of the country.


By:  Jennifer Crompton
Source: WMUR