NH DHHS to Do Additional Testing in Response to Low Levels of Tritium Found in Connecticut River

Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services

(DHHS), Division of Public Health Services (DPHS) was notified by the

Vermont Department of Health (VDH) yesterday that water samples taken from

the Connecticut River near the Vermont Yankee (VY) Nuclear Power Plant in

Vernon, Vermont tested positive for tritium. In response to this finding,

DPHS will be conducting additional water testing beginning tomorrow.

The samples, taken on July 18 and July 25, were collected approximately 2

feet from the point where the contaminated groundwater identified last year

flows from the shoreline into the River. The samples measured 534 and 611

pCi/L (picocuries per liter), which is just above the lower limit of

detection of 500pCi/L. Environmental Protection Agency standards for

potable (drinkable) water are 20,000 pCi/L. VDH stated that the finding

confirms that the tritium from a leak detected at VY over a year ago, which

has since been corrected, has moved slowly underground to the Connecticut


“While this finding does not create a risk of harm to the public, it is

still concerning,” said Joan Ascheim, DPHS Bureau Chief. “We have been

testing for months and no results have been above minimum detectable

levels, but we want to be assured that this is not a new issue and does not

pose a new risk.”

DHHS’ Division of Public Health Services routinely collects and analyzes

hundreds of environmental samples each year around the 10-mile emergency

planning zones of both VY and Seabrook Station nuclear power plants to

monitor air, soil, ground and surface water, and plants. Results from this

additional testing will be made available as soon as results are complete.

For more information, please visit the Vermont Department of Health website

at http://healthvermont.gov/enviro/rad/yankee/tritium.aspx or the New

Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services website at