- Elevated levels of potentially cancer-causing perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) have been found at the former L.L. & S. Construction and Demolition Debris Landfill in Salem, NH.
- Acting on a request from the state's Department of Environmental Services (DES), the federal Environmental Protection Agency conducted groundwater monitoring at 10 wells.
- The state recently set an emergency standard of up to 70 parts per trillion (ppt) for these chemicals. PFOA concentrations up to 560 ppt and PFOS concentrations up to 260 ppt were measured. DES will be taking samples at other nearby wells for further evaluation.
This is yet another example of the importance of proper safety precautions at landfills and proof that the job of managing them is not complete once they close.
This site has a long history of hazardous operations. Portions of the area were used for an auto salvage yard in the 1950s. Then the 16-acre landfill received construction and demolition waste from 1978 to 1984. The landfill was unlined and also had several fires. A fire fighting foam is suspected to have played some role in the elevated chemical concentrations.
While DES has been monitoring groundwater at the site since it closed, and the owner has also been required to continue monitoring, the full effects of these chemicals weren't known at the time. A number of other communities in New Hampshire, Vermont and New York have begun to discover dangerous concentrations of PFOA in their groundwater recently. The EPA has recommended that residents of some affected towns stop drinking water from the tap.