Saint-Gobain to shut New Hampshire plant blamed for PFAS water contamination


State Home Rep. Nancy Murphy, a Democrat from Merrimack, mentioned residents will proceed to pay an enormous worth after the plant closes.

MERRIMACK, N.H. (AP) — A French firm that has been blamed for contaminating ingesting water in some New Hampshire communities with a gaggle of chemical compounds generally known as PFAS mentioned Wednesday it plans to shut its plant there and can work with the state on an ongoing environmental investigation.

Saint-Gobain Efficiency Plastics mentioned in an announcement that it’ll “restructure its composite options enterprise in america,” after evaluating the corporate’s enterprise objectives and what “is in keeping with the corporate’s mission and plan.”

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The Paris-based firm, which purchased the Merrimack plant from ChemFAB in 2000, initially believed it wasn’t discharging something dangerous. However the state mentioned that modified in 2004 after the corporate put in extra refined know-how. After the corporate alerted the state, the state Division of Environmental Companies decided Saint-Gobain was exceeding state air limits for PFAS, and the corporate agreed to considerably scale back emissions.

PFAS is an abbreviation for perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances. Often called “perpetually chemical compounds,” they’re widespread, harmful and costly to take away from water. Additionally they don’t degrade within the atmosphere and are linked to well being points that embody low birthweight and kidney most cancers.

The state didn’t transfer to do any groundwater testing till 2016 as a result of there was no indication on the time that the emissions posed a menace to groundwater. That got here to mild after wells close to Saint-Gobain services in Hoosick Falls, New York, had been discovered to be contaminated with PFOA — or perfluorooctanoic acid, probably the most generally recognized of PFAS. Wells in Bennington and North Bennington, Vermont, additionally had been discovered to be contaminated with PFOA across the firm’s now-closed plant in Bennington. The contamination led to a minimum of two class motion lawsuits in opposition to Saint-Gobain.

In 2019, the state lowered the usual for PFOA from 70 components per trillion to 12 components per trillion and launched an in depth effectively sampling program. It recognized 1,000 properties with contaminated water and decided the contamination was brought on by emissions from the Merrimack plant.

Final 12 months, Saint-Gobain agreed to supply bottled ingesting water and “everlasting alternate water, as acceptable” to the properties in Bedford, Hudson, Litchfield, Londonderry and Merrimack. It additionally offered a framework ought to further properties be impacted.

There are 164 staff on the Merrimack plant. Saint-Gobain mentioned various roles and relocation help can be provided to eligible staff who want to stay with the corporate, and assist packages can be made obtainable to those that is not going to proceed.

State Home Rep. Nancy Murphy, a Democrat from Merrimack, mentioned residents will proceed to pay an enormous worth after the plant closes.

“Past the prices borne by non-public effectively house owners outdoors a far too small ‘consent decree space’, now we have paid to filter the ingesting water in our houses; now we have paid to filter the general public wells in our city; now we have paid to filter the ingesting water in our colleges … and we’re paying for the contamination of our air, water, and soil with our compromised well being,” she mentioned in a an announcement.