Learn more about the action taken by
Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics in Merrimack, New Hampshire

An Open Letter to the Community

Recently, a lot of misinformation has been spread about our site and operations. We wanted to take this opportunity to address several critical subjects.

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A MESSAGE FROM CHRIS ANGIER

Chris Angier, Environmental Project Manager of Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics, shares an update on October 3, 2019.

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HOW DOES THE GAC SYSTEM WORK?

As the New York Department of Health announced in February, the full capacity GAC filtration system is operating effectively.

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WATER'S JOURNEY FROM THE SOURCE TO YOUR HOME

How water makes the journey into your home depends on many variables. For more information on this process, please watch the video above.

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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Since we first learned of the presence of PFOA in certain groundwater in Merrimack, New Hampshire we have worked closely with state and local officials to investigate the source or sources of PFOA in the area.

We voluntarily conducted the initial tests and immediately began work with local officials to explore options for providing potable water to the residents within the area.

In March 2018, in partnership with the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, we announced an agreement on a Consent Decree (CD) to fund the extension of municipal water service to 299 properties in portions of the towns of Merrimack, Litchfield and Bedford. We will also fund curb stops to 109 currently underdeveloped properties in Merrimack, Litchfield, Manchester, and Bedford so that municipal water may be provided to such properties in the future if those properties are developed.

Below are updates to the individual communities and the in-progress programs for each:

  • Merrimack:
    • 20 homes were connected to the municipal water lines of the Merrimack Village District (MVD) before the CD agreement, and under the CD agreement construction to connect 41 additional properties is underway.
    • We have also reached an agreement with the MVD to fund the design, construction and installation of a Granular Activated Carbon filtration system for wells 4 and 5.
  • Litchfield:
    • The work to connect 388 Litchfield homes to the Pennichuck public water system is complete.
    • Under the CD agreement, we are funding the design and construction of municipal water line extensions to 80 additional properties in Litchfield. Construction here will begin later this year.
  • Manchester:
    • Work is complete to connect 26 homes to the municipal water lines of Manchester Water Works.
    • Under the CD agreement another five undeveloped properties are eligible for curb stops.
  • Bedford:
    • Under the CD agreement, we funded a municipal water line extension from Manchester Water Works and the provision of municipal water line connections properties in Bedford.
      • Water line connections for 99 properties along and near Back River Road began last year. The water connections have been completed and final paving of roads effected by the construction is ongoing.
      • Connections will also be completed this year for 49 properties along and near South River Road.
    • In addition, work is nearly complete to install POET systems for four additional properties in Bedford where it is not feasible to extend municipal water lines.

As a member of the community, Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics believed it was important to take a leadership position in bringing potable water to the residents surrounding our plant. Even as investigations into the source or sources of PFOA continue, we made this a top priority, as we want to remain an important and positive part of this community.

No. While this work to connect homes to municipal water lines is underway, we have provided bottled water and POU systems, which effectively remove PFOA from the water. We will continue to keep residents apprised of progress on this page, as we are able to do so.

We are currently on schedule with the work outlined in the Consent Decree, and expect all water line extensions to be complete by November 2019.

The process of connecting homes to municipal water supplies has multiple steps, including a surveying of the area; preparing detailed design plans; securing approvals from local municipal authorities and state agencies; opening the project for bidding; selecting and securing licensed, qualified contractors; and a sometimes lengthy construction process that requires disturbing roadways, installing new piping, and restoring roadways and other surfaces.

Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics’ Merrimack facility produces specialty coated fabrics and films for a range of industrial applications. This includes fabric for the roof of the iconic Denver Airport and the retractable roof of the AT&T Stadium in Dallas (Cowboys). It also supplies Hazmat protective suits globally; for example, it supplies to the Chicago Fire Department. It also donated Hazmat suits to the Merrimack Fire Department in 2009.

We are committed to this community in many ways, and it is in our collective best interests to see Merrimack flourish.

Since first learning about the presence of PFOA in certain groundwater in Merrimack and its surrounding communities, we have worked collaboratively with NHDES on site investigation activities including, but not limited to, groundwater, drinking water, surface water, soil, and air testing.

Additionally, Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics is cooperating with a number of officials in regard to testing and engineering work. We are working with officials from a number of agencies including the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, and municipal water providers, including Pennichuck public water system, Merrimack Village District and Manchester Water Works to tailor the plans for each individual community.

NHDES and Saint-Gobain worked cooperatively and without a formal agreement for more than two years in response to the presence of PFOA in certain groundwaters in the area, before signing a Consent Decree agreement in March 2018. During this time, more than 1,500 samples have been collected from groundwater, surface water, and water supply wells. In addition, Saint-Gobain voluntarily provided bottled water to residents living in the towns, provided point-of-use treatment systems for more than 50 properties, and connected more than 520 properties to municipal water lines.

Pursuant to the Consent Decree, every effort will be made to complete water line extensions to properties as soon as possible, with a goal of completing work by November 2019.

Yes, we are undertaking a number of efforts to remain compliant with new regulations. As the rules for compliance change, we change with them.

Currently, we are in the process of evaluating and implementing a best available control technology (BACT) for the Merrimack facility. We are working collaboratively with the state to select the best technology.

Additionally, in late 2018, our permit application for a waste water pre-treatment system was approved. This system will treat the wastewater generated as a byproduct of the processes used at our facility with Granular Activated Carbon (GAC) technology, which is a best-in-class solution for removing PFAS compounds from water. As of May 2019, construction of this pre-treatment system is nearly complete and the system is scheduled to be online in Summer 2019.

COMMON USES OF PFOA

RESOURCES

NHDES and Saint-Gobain Reach Agreement on Consent Decree

On March 20, the NH DES and Saint-Gobain announced that they reached an agreement to extend municipal water service to an additional 298 properties in portions of the towns of Bedford, Litchfield and Merrimack.

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WHAT IS A POET SYSTEM?

Learn more about point-of-entry (POET) systems, including what they are and how they work.

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NHDES MEDIA CENTER

Visit the NH DES media center for the latest news from the agency. Saint-Gobain is working closely with the NH DES to keep residents informed.

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NHDES Newsletter

The NH DES Commissioner's column explains why collaboration is key to the southern NH PFAS investigation.

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U.S. Chamber of Commerce Responds to ATSDR

U.S. Chamber of Commerce addresses draft toxicological profile.

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COMMENTARY: BASE WATER QUALITY RECOMMENDATIONS ON SCIENCE

The Business Council of New York pens op-ed advocating for basing water quality standards on "the best available science and make decisions based on the weight of scientific evidence, including input from all stakeholders."

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Saint-Gobain, the world leader in the habitat and construction markets, designs, manufactures and distributes building and high-performance materials, providing innovative solutions to the challenges of growth, energy efficiency and environmental protection.