Four Takeaways From the American Ground Water Trust/NHDES Annual Source Water Protection Meeting

June 14, 2019


GeoInsight Sponsors American Ground Water Trust (AGWT) and N.H. Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) joint Source Water Protection Conference

GeoInsight, Inc. was proud to again sponsor this year’s American Ground Water Trust (AGWT) and N.H. Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) joint Source Water Protection Conference held on May 16 in Concord, NH at the Grappone Conference Center. This is the largest conference in New England devoted to drinking water source protection, attracting regulators, water superintendents, legislators, environmental stakeholders and citizens concerned about the quality of their drinking water.

We look forward to sponsoring future iterations of this conference as it continues to grow and thrive. Here are four major takeaways from last month’s conference:

  1. Emerging contaminants—specifically polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS)—are a ubiquitous concern across New Hampshire, New England and the Nation. NHDES’s research leads the nation in the depth of its sampling database and insight into contaminant sources. An interesting tidbit: 87% of private supply wells sampled in association with permitting of a seacoast public drinking water supply well were found to have detectable levels of PFAS. The likely source of these impacts is residential septic systems and not an industrial point or non-point source.

  2. In an effort to better understand the distribution of emerging contaminants and common private well impacts, NHDES is launching a study involving a broad-based sampling of 500 private supply wells across New Hampshire. Wells participating in the study will be selected to provide even geographic coverage of the entire state and will include a variety of construction types. A primary objective of the study is to understand the baseline level of impacts of emerging contaminants from septic systems and that cannot be specifically traced to specific industrial point sources.

  3. Rick Ellsmore from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) announced that $323 Million will be made available nationally to help with source water protection efforts as part of the National Water Quality Initiative. Possible projects eligible for funding will typically be associated with controlling non-point source pollution such as stormwater runoff from affecting drinking water sources including reservoirs and wells. If you projects that could potentially qualify for fund, you can reach out to your local NRCS chapter’s office.

  4. Pending New Hampshire legislation is set to lower the maximum contaminant level of arsenic—a common contaminant in parts of New Hampshire, especially in wells drilling into metamorphic rocks—in drinking water systems from 10 ug/L to 5 ug/L. NHDES estimates that approximately 300 water systems across New Hampshire will need assistance treating and managing sources where arsenic levels will exceed the proposed standard of 5 ug/L. More information will be released on this matter once the details of this legislation are decided and passed.

If you have any questions concerning the AWGT/NHDES Annual Source Water Protection Meeting and its takeaways, do not hesitate to reach out to one of our water experts on staff.

Contact Dave Maclean

Dave Maclean, PG, LSP, LEP | Director of Water Supply | 603.314.0820

Dave has broad experience in water supply and contaminant hydrogeology projects throughout New England.