PFAS/Drinking Water Standards: New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services Initiates Rulemaking

January 09, 2019

By: Walter G. Wright

Category: Arkansas Environmental, Energy, and Water Law

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The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (“NHDES”) initiated a rulemaking to establish Maximum Contaminate Levels (“MCLs”) and ambient groundwater quality standards (“AGQS”) for four per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (“PFAS”) – perfluoroctanoic acid (“PFOA”), perfluoroctanessulfonic acid (“PFOS”), perfluorononanoic acid (“PFNA”) and perfluorohexanessulfonic acid (“PFHx S”).

NHDES states that the proposed standards are being set to ensure greater protection of public health related to the consumption of drinking water.

The previously described chemicals have been used in various industrial applications and consumer products such as:

  • Fabrics for furniture
  • Paper packaging for food and other materials resistant to water, grease or stains
  • Firefighting in airfields
  • Utilization in several industrial processes

NHDES describes MCLs as drinking water standards with which non-transient public water systems must comply. An AGQS is described as a standard used to require remedial action and the provision of alternative drinking water at a contaminated site.

A summary report on NHDES’ development of the drinking water standards, including an explanation of the health risk or assessment for each compound and information on cost benefit, occurrence, and ability to detect and treat the chemicals is stated to be forthcoming.

The drinking water standards proposed include:


Proposed MCL and AGQS


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70 ppt

PFOA & PFOS (combined)

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85 ppt


23 ppt

A copy of the news release can be found here.

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