Press Releases

 

Entries in Pease International Airport (4)

Friday
Mar202015

NH DHHS - Offering Testing for People Who Consumed Contaminated Pease Water

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

(DHHS), Division of Public Health Services is offering testing to people

who consumed water from the Pease Tradeport water system that was

determined in May 2014 to have levels of PFCs (perfluorochemicals) above

the provisional health advisory levels set by the U.S. Environmental

Protection Agency. The contaminated well was immediately shut down by the

City of Portsmouth. The testing is being offered as a public service at the

request of the affected community.



As details are finalized, the expectation is to start the blood drawing in

the first week of April. Those people who may be eligible for the testing

are those who were working or attending child care on the Pease Tradeport

when the well was shut down in May 2014 and who consumed water from the

Pease Water System. People who meet these guidelines and are interested in

getting tested are invited to call the DHHS information line for this

program at 603-271-9461 Monday-Friday 8:00 am to 4:00 pm. A public meeting

to provide details about the testing program is also being planned to occur

in the next few weeks.



PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonic acid) and PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) are

chemicals known as perfluorochemicals (PFCs). PFCs are a family of man-made

chemicals that have been used for decades in the production of products

that resist heat, oil, stains, grease, and water. PFCs are commonly used in

the manufacturing of nonstick cookware, stain-resistant carpets, fabric

coatings, some food packaging (especially microwave popcorn bags and fast

food wrappers), firefighting foam, and in many other industrial

applications. Many chemicals in this group, including PFOS and PFOA, are

present in the environment, but they do not break down easily. It was the

PFOS level in the Haven Well that was above the EPA provisional health

advisory level.



“We are responding to the public request to know more about the level of

PFOS and PFOA in their blood,” said Dr. José Montero, Director of Public

Health at DHHS. “Unfortunately, no one knows what a typical level is or if

these chemicals harm a person’s health. Most people in the United States

have some level of these chemicals in their blood because PFCs are so

pervasive in our environment. We hope this testing will offer reassurance

to people who are understandably concerned about this situation.”



For more information about the Pease Superfund site and water monitoring

visit the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services at

http://des.nh.gov/organization/divisions/waste/hwrb/fss/superfund/summaries/pease.htm

. To learn more about the water system at Pease, visit the City of

Portsmouth website at http://www.cityofportsmouth.com/publicworks/phwn.html

. To read more about this investigation visit the New Hampshire Department

of Health and Human Services at

http://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/investigation-pease.htm.



Friday
May232014

NH DHHS - Unregulated Contaminant Found in Pease Tradeport Water System 

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

system.



“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

most people.



“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

at DES.



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

http://des.nh.gov/organization/divisions/waste/hwrb/fss/superfund/summaries/pease.htm

Friday
Feb012013

Governor Hassan Encourages Air Force to Base New KC-46A Tanker at Pease

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
                                                           Governor

Friday
Mar122010

Shea-Porter Announces $85,000 for Portsmouth International Airport at Pease

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.