SHAHEEN ASKS AIR FORCE TO CONDUCT ADDITIONAL TESTING OF CONTAMINATED WATER AT PEASE TRADEPORT

June 12, 2014

(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) is expressing concern to the U.S. Air Force about the public health and financial impact of contaminated water at the Haven Well at the Pease International Tradeport and is requesting additional testing to “insure that any private well in the vicinity is safe.” 

In a letter sent Wednesday to Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James, Shaheen reiterated concerns from the City of Portsmouth about the detected levels of perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) above the EPA’s provisional health advisory level at the Haven Well, which was shut down as a public water supply in May following a water analysis.

“I am deeply concerned about this situation,” Shaheen said in the letter. “The City of Portsmouth will face a significant financial challenge in replacing the Haven Well as a supply source. Given that the former Pease Air Force Base is a Superfund site and that the firefighter foam the Air Force used at the base contained PFCs, I would urge the Department of the Air Force to include in the draft Memorandum of Understanding the provisions [Portsmouth City Manager John] Bohenko outlines in his letter to [the Air Force’s BRAC Program Management Division Chief].”

As a Superfund site, Pease is undergoing hazardous waste cleanup from the Air Force where hazardous wastes, including organic solvents, pesticides, paint strippers, and other industrial wastes were identified. The PFOS contamination at Pease comes from perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs), which the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) classifies as an “emerging contaminant” and may pose potential adverse effects for the environment and human health.

“In addition to the issues Portsmouth must now address, residents who live near the Tradeport and tenants who work there have also expressed concerns with the health effects resulting from exposure to PFOS,” Shaheen added. “Although the well is no longer providing drinking water to the public, I would urge the Department of the Air Force to conduct additional testing to insure that any private well in the vicinity is safe.”  

The full text of Shaheen’s letter is below.

                                                                                June 11, 2014

 

The Honorable Deborah Lee James

Secretary of the Air Force

U.S. Department of the Air Force

1160 Air Force Pentagon

Washington, DC 20330-1160

 

Dear Secretary James:

Enclosed is a copy of a letter Portsmouth, New Hampshire City Manager John Bohenko sent to Dr. Stephen TerMaath, the Air Force’s BRAC Program Management Division Chief, regarding the recent closure of the Haven Well at the Pease International Tradeport.  As you know, an analysis of water samples from the well detected levels of perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) above the EPA’s provisional health advisory level.

I am deeply concerned about this situation. The City of Portsmouth will face a significant financial challenge in replacing the Haven Well as a supply source. Given that the former Pease Air Force Base is a Superfund site and that the firefighter foam the Air Force used at the base contained PFCs, I would urge the Department of the Air Force to include in the draft Memorandum of Understanding the provisions Mr. Bohenko outlines in his letter to Dr. TerMaath. 

In addition to the issues Portsmouth must now address, residents who live near the Tradeport and tenants who work there have also expressed concerns with the health effects resulting from exposure to PFOS.   Although the well is no longer providing drinking water to the public, I would urge the Department of the Air Force to conduct additional testing to insure that any private well in the vicinity is safe. 

I know you share the goal of protecting the health and safety of the public. Thank you for insuring the problems that have resulted from the contamination of the Haven Well continue to be a priority for the Department. 

 

                                                                                Sincerely,

 

                                                                                Jeanne Shaheen

                                                                                United States Senator