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Release Date: 09/13/1999
Contact Information: Alice Kaufman, EPA Community Affairs Office, (617) 918-1064

Boston - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is beginning a $1.2 million waterline project this week to extend the Milford, New Hampshire municipal water supply to 27 homes whose drinking water wells are contaminated or threatened with contamination. The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) identified chlorotrifluoroethene (CTFE) and 1,2-dichloro-1,1,2-trifluroethane in residential wells it sampled on River Road and Jennison Road in 1997. NHDES advised residents not to drink the water while a permanent solution was found.

Eight wells that provide tap water for ten residences have CTFE contamination at or above the level determined safe for drinking. Another 17 wells serving 17 residences have low levels of contamination or are threatened with contamination in the future. CTFE is a colorless gas and is used in the production of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), in plastics, and in high performance lubricants.

"The families in this neighborhood have been living under a cloud of fear that their drinking water may not be safe to drink," said EPA's New England administrator John P. DeVillars. "Construction of this waterline will finally allow these people to breathe a lot easier when it's complete in the next 3-4 months."

"Extensive water sampling and analytical work was conducted by NHDES at this site prior to this waterline construction stage," noted Dr. Philip O'Brien, Director of NHDES's Waste Management Division. "This work, coupled with EPA's much-appreciated funding for the project, along with assistance from local officials, again illustrates a productive level of cooperation between federal, state, and local government in addressing the health concerns at this site."

These residences border the Grugnale Waste Disposal site where in 1979 the NHDES identified low levels of groundwater contamination. NHDES also identified chemical waste containers at the site and ordered the site owners to remove them.

"We don't know whether Grugnale is the source of well contamination but by hooking these residences up to the Milford water supply system, we know that these people will be drinking clean tap water," said Gilberto Irizarry, EPA's site manager for this project.

EPA will install new water pipes along North River Road, Jennison Road, Mount Vernon Road and Steven Lane. EPA will post traffic signs and provide flagger service to help avoid traffic delays.