House Votes to Cl...

I’m pleased to announce that the House of Representatives voted to pass HB 494, legislation regarding the removal of contaminants from Coakley Landfill superfund site. I co-sponsored this bill that has been passed by both the House and Senate and heartened that the state of NH has recognized the threat Coakley poses to Greenland and Seacoast residents.

Representative Renny Cushing (D-Hampton), prime sponsor of the legislation said, “The contaminants that have been, for decades, spreading from site groundwater at Coakley Landfill are undoubtedly a public health concern. The passage of HB 494 today is a crucial step in finally creating and implementing a remedy for the clean-up of harmful pollutants that Coakley Landfill Group and the EPA have failed to enact.”

“Safe water quality is a human right. The health and safety of New Hampshire residents have been endangered by corporate polluters for far too long and too many lives have been lost to toxic carcinogens in our state,” Cushing said.

“Preventing future disease and harmful environmental impact is possible with swift remediation of the contaminants at Coakley Landfill and Berry’s Brook. I hope that Governor Sununu will sign HB 494 to protect the health of Granite Staters, our environment, and vital Seacoast industries.”

A report in the June 28, Portsmouth Herald can be found below.


Listening Session...

The Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Inspector General has scheduled a listening session on the Coakley landfill Superfund cleanup site.

The event is scheduled for June 5 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Bethany Church off Breakfast Hill Road.

To learn more, go to Press, below.


Portsmouth Herald...

See below the Herald's March 21 editorial about the importance of this decision.



The residents of Greenland and the Seacoast won a big victory when the House of Representatives voted 230-98 to pass HB 494, relative to the removal of contaminants from the Coakley Landfill. The bill will be referred to the Senate. Representative Renny Cushing, (D-Hampton), prime sponsor of the legislation, released the following statement:

“Decades of contamination caused by the Coakley Landfill has been, and continues to be, tragic to countless New Hampshire families. With the highest rates of pediatric cancer in the country, too many families have lost loved ones because we, as a state, have failed to protect their water from carcinogens.”

“As lawmakers, it is our obligation to correct this. HB 494 declares the Coakley Landfill an imminent hazard, requiring action be taken to clean the contamination. I thank the House for its strong vote to make our water clean again.”


Bedrock Bore-hole...

The Environmental Protection Agency confirmed that three recently dug “bedrock bore-holes” near the Coakley landfill have tested positive for PFAS and 1,4 dioxane, both of which are suspected carcinogens.

A Portsmouth Herald article posted below, gives details of the recent development.


Community Update ...

1. Treatment systems have been installed by the Coakley Landfill Group (CLG) at two private wells that
exceeded the recently revised NHDES ambient groundwater quality standard (AGQS) for 1,4 dioxane
(adjusted downward from 3 parts‐per‐billion to 0.32 ppb on September 1, 2018). One private well is a
residence just northwest of the landfill on Breakfast Hill Road, and the other is the Breakfast Hill Golf Club.
The treatment systems are operating and have been approved by NHDES. NHDES is requiring that the
CLG expand the Site GMZ to incorporate these two properties. It is important to note that the
concentration of 1,4‐dioxane in these two private wells has maintained relatively consistent levels since
sampling began in 2012.

2. Samples from packer testing of newly installed bedrock boreholes have been analyzed for PFAS, 1,4
dioxane and VOCs, and preliminary data has been provided to the agencies. Validated data is anticipated
to be submitted next week. The CLG continues to pursue access to 7 historic bedrock boreholes located
north, south and east of the landfill for surveying and sampling and has gained verbal agreement to access
3 of the wells.

3. Wet weather storm water runoff samples were collected from landfill cover retention basins and
discharge culverts, underdrain discharge locations and landfill seep locations on October 27. These
samples were collected in accordance with a work plan that CLG prepared and EPA reviewed and
approved, to further investigate the extent of PFAS contamination potentially associated with landfill
cover material. Samples are being analyzed and results will be provided once the data is reported by the
lab. Additional sampling at these locations will be conducted in the spring.

4. Representatives from the United States Geological Survey (USGS) visited the site on October 24 to
become more familiar with site features and to discuss the scope of work for modeling localized, sitespecific
groundwater flow characteristics (model). Based on the findings of this visit, the USGS prepared a
revised scope of work which has been reviewed by EPA. An interagency agreement for the development
of this model is being finalized. Development of this model is scheduled to take about 12 months,
although adjustments to the schedule may be needed based on the collection of data from the ongoing
bedrock investigation that will be used in the model.

5. The CLG has conducted its fall monitoring round, including sampling of groundwater monitoring wells,
surface water, leachate and off‐site wells. Samples are being analyzed by the lab and results should be
available within two weeks.


1.4-Dioxane Conta...

The Coakley Landfill Group (CLG) will be required to provide alternate water to the Breakfast Hill Golf Club clubhouse after finding an elevated level of 1.4-dioxane, which is believed to be migrating from the the Coakley landfill in Greenland and North Hampton.

It's good news that the state ordered the CLG to provide water to the clubhouse according to State Representative Renny Cushing of Hampton.

State Representative Mindi Messmer of Rye said that the state's Pediatric Cancer Commission has recommended "action should be taken in the Legislature to compel the state to act in stopping the flow of toxins off site."

An article in the Saturday November 3, 2018 Portsmouth Herald that gives complete details of this development is found below.


State Awaiting Te...

New Hampshire has lowered its is ambient groundwatter quality standard for 1.4 -dioxane to .32 parts per billion, and the state is now awaiting test results on wells around the Coakley landfill that historically tested above the new groundwater standard for the suspected carcinogen.

The NH DES ordered the CLG to "immediately provide bottled water" to homeowners on Breakfast Hill Road whose well tested above the new standard.

The CLG has been ordered to provide "recommendations for correcting action" within 30 days.

DES spokesman Jim Martin said that "bottled water is not considered a long-term solution." A long-term solution could mean connecting somebody to a public water supply or providing a treatment system."


Court Rules Coakl...

The Coakley Landfill Group has been ruled a public body and must follow the state's right to know law.

The court also ruled that the CLG is to pay the costs of the small group of lawmakers who brought the lawsuit.

An opinion piece in the Portsmouth Herald congratulated the court on the ruling and recognized the lawmakers who brought the suit.

The opinion piece is attached below.


Right To Know Sho...

State representatives, the town of Hampton and former Portsmouth assistant mayor have filed a Right To Know suit against the Coakley Landfill Group in an attempt to understand the Group’s record keeping and accounting practices. Since the Group is 63 percent controlled by municipalities, this should be settled quickly.

The plaintiffs have also asked that the meetings of the Group be open to the public because decisions are made about how to ensure public health and to spend public dollars.

The Portsmouth Herald opined on this Sunday August 5, 2018 and the full editorial can be found below.

The request is reasonable and needed. Judge William Decker asked lawyers whether they could site similar kinds of requests from “anywhere in the country, involving public access to information from a hybrid public-private entity like the CLG. The lawyers told the Judge they could not, making this a “case of first impression.””

We are hopeful the Judge will rule in favor of transparency, and await the decision.


EPA Must Recogniz...

This was a big week in the Seacoast for addressing water quality. The EPA sponsored two day event in Exeter drew hundreds of people and showed those of us in attendance how other states are dealing with PFOS/PFAS problem and what it means for New Hampshire.

The Portsmouth Herald on Sunday said, "the EPA, through the rule of law, must mandate the cleanup and provide some level of funding as it did with its Superfund program.

That effort would start with a more stringent health advisory standard for the total of all PFAS variations, not individual ones. It’s time for government officials to acknowledge even a little bit of harmful, possibly carcinogenic, chemical waste in drinking and surface water is not acceptable."

I heard "not acceptable" many times over the two day event and agree that it's a priority to clean this up.

The Exeter event was ground breaking and the first of it's kind. New Hampshire is a leader in addressing and identifying this issue. Let's keep the pressure on the EPA to help us actually clean this up and guaranteeing safe drinking water for all of us.


Senate Blocks Coa...

The NH Senate passed a "watered down version" of a House bill that required the NH DES to clean-up the Coakley landfill.

An amendment offered by Senator Dan Innis to better align the bill with the House version was defeated, and the Senate went onto pass a bill that calls on DES to report back to lawmakers on PFC testing at Coakley and other hazardous waste sites. The House bill called for cleaning up the site.

Senator Innis said, "I think it's an unfortunate setback for those of us that want to see Coakley cleaned up.

Senator Martha Fuller-Clark said that the DES, Coakley Landfill Group and the Environmental Protection Agency this week began sampling wells around the landfill, as well as testing bedrock wells and fish tissue sampling in Berry' Brook to determine levels of contamination.

Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley said federal law gives the ultimate authority of Superfund sites to the EPA with DES participation. He said the EPA has said no other state has passed similar legislation regarding Superfund sites.


No Answer To Who'...

“Who’s running the show here,” became the question of the evening at the latest public meeting regarding the Coakley landfill. April 5, 2018 about 100 residents from the area surrounding the Coakley landfill met at Bethany Church in Greenland for an update and report on the progress being made to clean-up the landfill.

Residents left the meeting without any new plans to either clean up the landfill or provide municipal water to the families living around it.

The meeting was hosted by both state and federal regulators and several people at the meeting expressed frustration that neither the Environmental Protection Agency nor the N.H. Department of Environmental Services had forced the Coakley Landfill Group to clean up Berry’s Brook, which is adjacent to the landfill.

Michael Wimsatt, director of the DES Waste Management Division said it would be most prudent to implement some kind of active remedy there to improve the water quality in Berry’s Brook. Wimsatt said that the CLG declined to participate in any clean-up work. He said that if the agency was in a position to compel the CLG to clean-up the brook, “we would do that.”

At this time, there is a bill moving through the NH Senate that asks the NH DES to begin remediating the situation at the Coakley landfill.

The NH House passed this bill recently, and now awaits a vote in the Senate.


The Problem At Co...

The March 23, 2018 edition of the Portsmouth Herald editorialized about the efforts many of us in the Seacoast are taking to clean up this site and prevent further contamination of the groundwater.

Below is the editorial that lays out not only the current threat, but the history and rulings that have brought us to this point.


Catch and Release...

NH Fish and Game will stock Berry's Brook with trout, but restrict sport fishing to catch and release only. This is the right thing to do and helps the public understand the water quality issues surrounding the Coakley Landfill.

The complete article is attached, and I'm on record saying that "nobody should eat anything out of this brook."


The State Attorne...

The state Attorney General’s office says it will not conduct an investigation into the Coakley Landfill Group.

Thomas Donovan, the director of Charitable Trusts for the state Attorney General’s office, determined that the Coakley Landfill Group (CLG) does not meet the state definition of a charitable trust.

“Because the Coakley Landfill Group is not a charitable trust, the CTU (Charitable
Trusts Unit) has no authority to conduct an investigation into its activities,” Donovan wrote in a six-page letter to the group of Seacoast lawmakers who had asked for the investigation.

The complete March 13, Portsmouth Herald story is below.


House Overturns C...

Wednesday March 7 the House voted by wide margins first to overturn the committee recommendation to interim study (essentially kill) and then pass HB1766 by a vote of 201-118. This bill, sponsored by Representative Mindi Messmer, will be kept alive now and sent to the Senate. I testified before the committee that the Coakley's location is creating fear among our Greenland residents and affecting our property values.

The bill shows the state that Section 93 (2) of the 1999 Consent Decree reserves the state’s authority to act to protect the Seacoast from toxins leaching from the Coakley Landfill Superfund dump.

In recent weeks, the sponsors have become aware that $10M in federal and state money was given to the Coakley Landfill Group but the originally planned groundwater treatment system was never installed. Where did the money go? The sponsors of the bill have appealed to the Attorney General and the NH Office of Charitable Trusts for answers about where the money has gone, why financial reports were never submitted and why the group was not audited.

The dump is geographically central to a double pediatric cancer cluster and more than 3 times the expected rate of brain and central nervous system cancers in our children or the Seacoast. The bill tells the state to compel the Coakley Landfill Group to put the original remedy in to address threats to groundwater, drinking water and surface water of 5 towns that still exists after decades of inaction. The time to act is now.

This is a clear example that the power of the people can overcome 5 high paid lobbyists, a high paid attorney, and polluters to protect the public health of the people of the state of New Hampshire.

A complete report by the Portsmouth Herald is posted below.


My Support of Coa...

The following is my testimony before the NH House Environment and Agriculture Committee demanding cleaning up the Coakley Landfill

With the issue of PFOA and PFOS contamination spreading throughout New Hampshire and United States, our town of Greenland is really feeling the fear of the harm these emerging contaminants are creating because we sit right next to what is now an infamous EPA Superfund site that people doubt was ever properly contained.

Our frustration is that while only part of the Coakley sits in Greenland, we were not a contributor to the contaminants that were deposited there and we are not a member of the Coakley Landfill Group, which as you know is the managing body of the site. You can imagine not only the concern about a spreading plume of groundwater with who knows what it contains that is moving in Greenland’s direction, but also that we have little to no say in the mitigation and remediation of the problem that is creating health worries among our some 270 private property owners and families who live near the site.

Greenland’s Board of Selectmen is working with the Portsmouth officials to work on a plan to bring public water to the residents along Breakfast Hill Road that can connect a Greenland well to the Portsmouth water supply, so we have started to do our part in protecting our residents. An eventual pipeline could be years away.

However, the nature of the pollutants in the Coakley and their consequences are concern enough to take action now to mitigate the hazards the Coakley landfill may be causing.

In addition, it’s felt among town officials that the Coakley is having an effect beyond the risks posed to residents with private wells.

The Greenland Planning Board has no new projects for 6 months, and anecdotally we’ve heard that area real estate companies are having a very hard time with potential buyers who will not consider moving to Greenland. To quote one town official, “we are feeling a negative impact.”

Please seriously consider this bill and understand that these issues affect not only Greenland and the Seacoast, but the entire state of New Hampshire.


Cleaning Up The C...

On February 20, 2018 the NH House Environment and Agricultural Committee heard testimony regarding the clean-up of the Coakley landfill located in North Hampton and Greenland.

In my testimony I insisted that the NH Department of Environmental Services get to work on mitigating the Coakley landfill with a pump and treat cleaning system, which some believe should have been installed when the landfill was closed back in the ‘90’s.

I focused on how the location of the Coakley is having a detrimental impact not only on the health of residents, but the overall perception of Greenland as being a clean and safe place to buy a house and raise a family. My complete testimony can be found below.

Greenland’s Jillian Lane gave great testimony about the hazards of the materials that were dumped in the landfill, the DES said the contaminants have not reached the level at which they will act, and the Coakley Landfill Group testified that they’ve been meeting their obligations as outlined by the Environmental Protection Agency. We’ll see how the committee decides on this bill and whether it will move to the floor with a recommendation of ought to pass. The committee recommendation on the bill will be made next Tuesday.

The entire bill, HB 1766-FN and can be found on the NH General Court website.


Feasiblity Study ...

A $200,000 grant has been made available to look at how to extend a city water line already located in Greenland to homes on Breakfast Hill Road which are located near the Coakley landfill, a Superfund cleanup site.

Portsmouth Mayor Jack Blalock and Greenland Selectmen Chairman Vaughan Morgan in June sent a letter to the state seeking $17.3 million in state money to extend a water line to the homes around the Coakley landfill. $200,000 was awarded to begin a study on how to accomplish this.

The study will also look at the best way for the city to bring water to Breakfast Hill Road residents, including water that’s from a water line in Rye or one in Greenland.

I’ve attached an article from the Portsmouth Herald dated January 24, 2018 that describes in detail the grant and the next steps.


Greenland Receive...

The New Hampshire Drinking Water and Groundwater Advisory Commission voted unanimously to award $200,000 to design the extension of a municipal waterline to provide safe water to homes around the Coakley landfill. A waterline down Breakfast Hill Road could provide water to nearly 300 homes.

Portsmouth and Greenland earlier this year applied for a $17.3 million grant to extend a water line along Breakfast Hill Road. The funds awarded this week come from the state's MTBE contamination settlement with Exxon Mobil.

This is the first step in getting a waterline into the Breakfast Hill neighborhoods. There is no word on how long the engineering study will take, but this is encouraging news. Greenland's appointee to the Commission, Selectman Paul Sanderson says there is considerable interest in helping many communities throughout New Hampshire facing similar water issues.


Time To Get Serio...

That's the title of an editorial published by the Portsmouth Herald July 17.

The NH Department of Environmental Services has acknowledged that contamainatns from the Coakley landfill are migrating from the Superfund cleanup site and measures should be put into place to stop it.

I've included a link to the piece in the Press Section below. It's a detailed write-up on the Coakley landfill status and a strong call to fix this situation now.

The Portsmouth Herald said, "Those who argue the levels of contamination are less than an almost arbitrary number are probably not drinking the water or willing to on a daily basis."

The most pressing question is how PFCs are leaching from the landfill and gettin ginto Berry's brook, instead of seeping into the ground."


Thank you Portsmouth Herald for standing with our area legislators and local residents for a clearly stated demand that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency take immediate action.


Greenland Residen...

More than 150 people packed the cafe at Bethany Church in Greenland, NH Thursday night to hear why the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) set the health advisory level for two dangerous PFCs at 70 parts per trillion, when other states use lower-and more protective-numbers.

Community leaders including Greenland residents with extensive water quality and geologic experience wanted to know why 70 parts per trillion is a standard for New Hampshire and whether that will ever be changed.

That number is three times what the limit is in Vermont and both former Portsmouth city council member Stefany Shaheen and State Rep. Mindi Messmer, D-Rye agreed that this number should be lowered and Messmer said residents should be careful about drinking water from their residential wells.

I am co-sponsoring state legislation with Rep. Messmer to establish a permanent commission to deal with water issues throughout the state and to establish safe drinking water standards for NH. Two bills have been introduced in the NH House of Representatives, with two more coming soon that deal with these issues important to everyone in the state.

A more complete report on Thursday's meeting is available on the Press section below.