The Bulletin Board

Bedford, Merrimack establishing municipal PFAS rebate programs

By: - April 27, 2023 10:49 am

Private well owners in Bedford and Merrimack will be able to apply directly through their municipality to be reimbursed for costs. (Getty Images)

The towns of Bedford and Merrimack will establish their own municipal rebate programs related to PFAS remediation in private wells. 

The House Fiscal Committee last week approved a request from the Department of Environmental Services to use $2.4 million toward the programs, which will be offshoots of the state’s PFAS Rebate Program.

The state currently offers up to $5,000 in reimbursement for installation of a treatment system in private wells impacted by PFAS contamination, and Bedford and Merrimack have chosen to set up their own programs to offer a greater refund of $6,500, said DES spokesman Jim Martin. 

“The proposed project met all the eligibility requirements of the program and was approved for funding,” Martin said. “This is an avenue for all municipalities if they so choose to apply.”

Private well owners in Bedford and Merrimack will be able to apply directly through their municipality to be reimbursed for costs, rather than going through the state. 

The state’s rebate program, which DES has said is thought to be the first of its kind in the country, was created to reimburse private well owners for costs related to PFAS treatment or connection to public water supply. Since its launch last summer, the program has processed more than 500 rebate applications. 

Bedford and Merrimack’s rebate programs will be fairly similar to the state program. Martin said the funding is coming from the same pot of money – a combination of $5 million from the Drinking Water and Groundwater Trust Fund, established using damages awarded to the state through its 2003 lawsuit against ExxonMobil, and $15 million in general funds appropriated by the state Legislature.  

Parts of both Bedford and Merrimack are included in the area agreed upon by the state and Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics – called a “consent decree” – where the company is providing permanent clean water solutions to approximately 1,000 properties. Those utilizing the rebate programs are likely located outside of the consent decree, and without an offer from Saint-Gobain to provide clean water.

The state has attributed the widespread PFAS contamination in Londonderry, Merrimack, Bedford, Litchfield, and Hudson to the plastics manufacturer, though not legally. 

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Hadley Barndollar
Hadley Barndollar

Hadley Barndollar covers climate, energy, environment, and the opioid crisis for the New Hampshire Bulletin. Previously, she was the New England regional reporter for the USA TODAY Network and was named Reporter of the Year by the New England Newspaper and Press Association. Email: [email protected]