Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services
(DHHS), Division of Public Health Services, and the New Hampshire
Department of Environmental Services (DES) are today announcing a positive
test result for perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) from a well that
serves the Pease Tradeport and the New Hampshire Air National Guard base at
Pease. PFOS is one of a class of chemicals known as PFCs or
perfluorochemicals. Because the level of PFOS exceeds the “provisional
health advisory” set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the
well was immediately shut down by the City of Portsmouth.
The water in the other two wells servicing Pease also contained PFCs but
not above the provisional health advisory level. Out of an abundance of
caution, the water system for the City of Portsmouth was also recently
tested, since the systems at Pease and Portsmouth are linked, however,
water from the Pease wells is rarely used to service the city of
Portsmouth. The results were that no PFCs were detected in any of the other
supply wells or surface water sources that serve the Portsmouth water
“The City of Portsmouth takes water quality and safety seriously and is
working closely with the agencies to learn more about this unregulated
compound. In the meantime, the Haven Well will remain off line,” said
Brian Goetz, the City of Portsmouth Deputy Director of Public Works who is
overseeing this effort with water operations staff.
PFCs have been used for decades in many commercial products, such as
stain-resistant carpeting, fire-fighting foam, nonstick cookware, fabric
coatings, and some food packaging. As a result, they are found throughout
the environment. They do not break down readily in the environment or in
our bodies so low levels of PFCs can be detected in the blood stream of
“There is very little known about the health effects if any on people from
these compounds,” said Dr. José Montero, Director of Public Health at DHHS.
“Some animal studies have been conducted but have not led to any
recommendations for people, and further studies are needed.”
The water in the wells that serve Pease Tradeport is routinely tested
according to the federal Safe Drinking Water Act requirements. PFCs are not
covered in the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act, although six of these
compounds are being evaluated by U.S EPA to see if a drinking water
standard is warranted, and EPA’s Office of Water established and released a
Provisional Health Advisory for PFOS. Provisional Health Advisories reflect
reasonable, health-based hazard concentrations above which action should be
taken to reduce exposure to unregulated contaminants in drinking water.
“DES is working closely with the City of Portsmouth to address the presence
of PFCs in the Pease Tradeport wells so that all health-based standards and
advisories are met for water being served to their customers,” said Sarah
Pillsbury, Administrator of New Hampshire’s Public Drinking Water Program
The Pease Tradeport previously operated as an Air Force base from 1956 to
1991. It is suspected that firefighting foam used by the Air Force starting
around 1970 for plane crashes and training exercises contained PFCs that
leached into the ground and consequently contaminated the well. The Former
Pease Air Force Base is currently a Superfund site being cleaned up by the
U.S. Air Force with oversight by DES and EPA. Investigations into the
source(s) of this well contamination will be undertaken by the Air Force
and overseen by DES and EPA.
DES, in collaboration with DHHS, the Pease Development Authority, and the
City of Portsmouth will continue to monitor the wells at Pease to ensure
the water continues to meet all EPA and State standards. Any new findings
will be made available to the public.
An informational session for the public will be held next week. A date,
time and location are being finalized and will be announced. For more
information, visit http://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/investigation-pease.htm. For
questions about the well water testing, people can call 603-271-9461. For
more information about the monitoring by DES, go to
Entries in Pease International Airport (3)
Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services
Office of New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan
Sends Letter to Air Force Chief of Staff Praising Capabilities of New Hampshire Air National Guard
CONCORD – Praising the men and women of the New Hampshire Air National Guard, Governor Maggie Hassan sent a letter to Air Force Chief of Staff General Mark A. Welsh encouraging the basing of the new KC-46A air refueling tanker with the 157th Air Refueling Wing at Pease Air National Guard base.
“On behalf of the 1.3 million citizens of New Hampshire, I want to express my strongest support for basing the Air Force's newest refueling tanker at the Pease Air National Guard facility in Newington,” wrote Governor Hassan. “I believe the 157th Air Refueling Wing is ideally suited to be the first Air National Guard unit in the country to field the KC-46A.”
Last month, U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), who as members of the Senate Armed Services Committee have advocated for basing the KC-46A at Pease, announced that Pease is one of only five Air National Guard installations selected for the Air Force’s candidate base list for the new tanker. The KC-46A next generation tanker will replace the KC-135 tankers that the Guard currently flies out of Pease.
“Since 1975, the 157th ARW has established a track record of unparalleled excellence, winning the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 11 times,” the Governor wrote. “It has amassed 22 years of almost continuous operational missions for the Air Force since Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. The 157th ARW is strategically located on the East Coast and provides 24-7 support to Tanker Task Force missions. Its infrastructure at Pease includes the longest Air National Guard runway and parking ramp in the Northeast.”
Over the coming months, the Air Force will conduct on-the-ground site surveys of each candidate base. They will then select preferred and reasonable alternative locations and begin an Environmental Impact Analysis Process in the spring of 2013. The selected Air National Guard base will receive aircraft beginning in fiscal year 2018.
Governor Hassan’s letter concluded, “The men and women of the 157th Air Refueling Wing and 64th Air Refueling Squadron have proven they are more than capable of handling the challenges of the new tanker. They are skilled. They are war-tested. They are dedicated. New Hampshire and its citizens would be honored to have the KC-46A assigned to its National Guard.”
The full text of the Governor’s letter to General Welsh can be found below:
General Mark A. Welsh III
Air Force Chief of Staff
1670 Air Force Pentagon
Washington, DC 20330-1670
Dear General Welsh,
On behalf of the 1.3 million citizens of New Hampshire, I want to express my strongest support for basing the Air Force's newest refueling tanker at the Pease Air National Guard facility in Newington.
I believe the 157th Air Refueling Wing is ideally suited to be the first Air National Guard unit in the country to field the KC-46A. Since 1975, the 157th ARW has established a track record of unparalleled excellence, winning the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 11 times. It has amassed 22 years of almost continuous operational missions for the Air Force since Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.
The 157th ARW is strategically located on the East Coast and provides 24-7 support to Tanker Task Force missions. Its infrastructure at Pease includes the longest Air National Guard runway and parking ramp in the Northeast.
In addition, the 157th ARW has air traffic control, fire protection, security and customs, and agricultural support already in place. The base's close proximity to major ground transportation nodes and a deep water port would allow the Air Force to leverage the KC-46A's cargo and aero-medical capabilities.
KC-46As assigned to Pease would also be used by the 64th Air Refueling Squadron, an active associate flying alongside the 157th ARW. The addition of the 64th in 2009 has enabled the Wing to use their fleet of tankers more efficiently, increasing the number of missions flown annually by more than 1,000.
New Hampshire has a proud tradition of military service dating back to the founding of our nation. Today, the airmen and soldiers of our National Guard are embraced as true heroes by their communities. The support they and their families receive from employers, schools, and various local and state agencies has been unwavering.
The men and women of the 157th Air Refueling Wing and 64th Air Refueling Squadron have proven they are more than capable of handling the challenges of the new tanker. They are skilled. They are war-tested. They are dedicated.
New Hampshire and its citizens would be honored to have the KC-46A assigned to its National Guard.
With every good wish,
Margaret Wood Hassan
Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter today announced that the Portsmouth International Airport at Pease will receive $85,000 to install a security fence and to purchase snow removal equipment. This grant is provided by the Federal Aviation Administration of the U.S. Department of Transportation.
“I am pleased that Pease is receiving this important equipment that will help increase its security and safety,” said Congresswoman Shea-Porter.