The NH Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) is sampling 500 randomly selected private wells, evenly distributed, statewide for more than 250 chemicals and parameters including volatile organic compounds, metals, radionuclides, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and pesticides.
The sampling is being paid for through a grant from the Drinking Water and Groundwater Trust Fund. The sampling program will provide information to homeowners about the quality of their drinking water and when necessary, steps that can be taken to improve water quality.
State officials and scientists will also use this information to evaluate the occurrence, concentration and sources of certain emerging contaminants in drinking water including perchlorate, 1,4-dioxane, PFAS and pesticides and their breakdown products. Additionally, this sampling program will provide the first statewide assessment of bacteria, nitrate, lead, salt, fluoride, manganese, arsenic, radionuclides and salt in water obtained from private wells, and it will build upon previous statewide assessments that have been conducted on other contaminants such as arsenic and radon.
The information will provide a holistic snapshot of the quality of water in private wells and identify trends and patterns of the water quality relative to location of the well, nearby land uses, geology, well type and other factors that can impact water quality. This information will be used to develop and implement strategies to mitigate and prevent exposures to unsafe levels of contaminants in drinking water obtained from private wells. NHDES will analyze the sampling results working with stakeholders and the public and publish the results over the next 12 months.
Another aspect to the Drinking Water and Groundwater Trust Fund Statewide Private Well Sampling Program is targeted sampling and analysis of water from households that were randomly selected to participate in the 2019 New Hampshire Tracking and Assessment of Chemical Exposures (TrACE) Study.
This biomonitoring study includes testing blood and urine from people for many of the same chemicals being analyzed in water. This collaboration will provide information about the relationship between chemicals measured in drinking water and in the bodies of study participants (https://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/lab/statewide-study.htm).