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News Releases from Region 01

Public Advisory: Avoid Fish Consumption in Souhegan River Near Fletcher’s Paint Superfund Site in Milford, N.H.

05/21/2018
Contact Information: 
David Deegan (deegan.dave@epa.gov)
617-918-1017

Boston – As part of the investigations at the Fletcher's Paint Works and Storage Facility Superfund Site in Milford, N.H., the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has determined that there is an elevated risk to public health from the ingestion of fish contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in a segment of the Souhegan River.

The river segment with elevated risks, as determined by past fish tissue sampling, starts at the Goldman Dam and ends approximately one-mile upriver near Riverway East, located off Elm Street (see enclosed area map). Based on data collected, areas of the Souhegan River outside of the segment identified do not pose an unacceptable risk of exposure to PCBs from the Site.

EPA advises anglers not to eat, but to catch and release unharmed, any fish caught in this one-mile segment of the Souhegan River. Fish advisory signs have been posted along this segment of the river. EPA plans to collect and analyze fish samples from this segment of the river in the future to determine if or when the fish advisory should be ended.

PCBs are a group of organic chemicals which were manufactured for a broad range of uses in the US from 1929 until 1979. PCBs have been demonstrated to cause cancer in animals as well as serious non-cancer health effects including effects on the immune system, reproductive system, nervous system, endocrine system and other health effects.

The cleanup required by EPA's decision documents for the Fletcher's Paint Site were completed during the 2016 and 2017 construction seasons. This work included: excavating and off-site disposal of approximately 32,000 cubic yards of contaminated soils and 1,500 cubic yards of contaminated sediments; and construction of a low permeability cover over contaminated soils at the Elm Street area that were not practicable to excavate.

Aerial map of Souhegan River Fish Consumption Advisory area near the Fletcher's Paint Works Superfund site

Superfund Task Force. In May 2017 Administrator Scott Pruitt established a task force to restore EPA&s Superfund program to its rightful place at the center of the Agency&s core mission to protect health and the environment. Click here to learn more.