Apr 8, 2016 2:58 PM

Saint Gobain Plastics agrees to install filtration systems on some private wells

MERRIMACK — A company blamed for contaminating well water near its plant said Friday it will install point-of-entry filtration systems on private wells where elevated levels of the contaminant PFOA has been detected.

Saint-Gobain CEO Tom Kinisky told the New Hampshire Union Leader his company will try to comply with every deadline requested by the state Department of Environmental Services to fix the water contamination problem, regardless of the cost.

Saint-Gobain has agreed to pay for bottled water for about 400 families with private wells within a roughly a one-mile radius of its plant – most of them in Litchfield.

“Bottled water is clearly not the answer,” Kinisky said, adding Saint-Gobain’s first priority is to clean up the private wells within a mile of its facility that are detecting perfluorooctanoic acid at 100 parts per trillion or more.

Kinisky said the company plans to act swiftly, understanding that people are afraid. PFOA was used in the manufacture of non-stick coatings like Teflon.

“We don’t know the number of people that are impacted, that has yet to be determined,” he said.

Saint-Gobain is not exploring a filtration system for the municipal Merrimack Village District water system. To date, the highest PFOA levels detected in the municipal water supply is 90 parts per trillion, which remains below the state’s threshold of 100 ppt to qualify for bottled water.

In Hoosick Falls, N.Y., where elevated levels of PFOA were detected near a Saint Gobain plant there, the company installed a filtration system to the town’s municipal water system at a cost of about $4.5 million, which included the price of bottled water, a temporary treatment system and a permanent system.

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