Congresswoman Ann McLane Kuster

Representing the 2nd District of New Hampshire
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Kuster Hosts Drinking Water Infrastructure Forum in Nashua

Monday, August 22, 2016 - 10:00am

Nashua, NH – This morning, Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02) brought together leaders from federal, state and local environmental agencies, public health organizations, and experts from across the Nashua area to discuss the health of New Hampshire’s drinking water infrastructure. The forum allowed stakeholders to discuss the importance of maintaining quality water infrastructure for residential, commercial, and industrial purposes in local communities. This is the third stop on a “water tour” Congresswoman Kuster has been holding since reports that water in Litchfield, New Hampshire contained higher-than-safe levels of PFOA.

“Water infrastructure plays a critical role in New Hampshire’s ability to support families and attract businesses in our communities.  This infrastructure supports recreational, residential, and business opportunities that are integral to the success of the Granite State’s well-being and economy. What’s more, we must ensure that no local residents are EVER in danger of drinking contaminated water,” said Congresswoman Kuster. “I organized today’s forum to bring key stakeholders together, so we could identify a path forward to guarantee necessary maintenance to of our state’s water infrastructure. We must ensure our communities have access to high-quality drinking water for generations to come. By tackling this issue proactively, we will best protect our communities from water crises down the road. ”

During the briefing, Congresswoman Kuster questioned officials about the possible environmental and health impacts of aging drinking water health and systems, as well as the next steps to ensure that Granite Staters are adequately protected from the possible health issues that can result from older water infrastructure. Kuster was joined by Nashua Mayor Jim Donchess; Jane Downing, Associate Director of Drinking Water at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; Brandon Kernen, Manager of Hydrology and Conservation Programs for the N.H. Department of Environmental Services; Larry Goodhue, CEO of the Pennichuck Corp.; and Rob Warner, the State Director of the League of Conservation Voters, among others.  Participants also discussed the status of water systems in the area, and how they can be updated and maintained to avoid public health concerns in the years to come.

"While we take clean drinking water for granted, the United States is facing a drinking water crisis resulting from decades of ignoring and underinvesting in our aging water infrastructure and drinking water protections,” said Rob Werner, of the League of Conservation Voters. “The EPA estimates that over $600 billion is needed to meet our drinking and wastewater needs over the next 20 years, yet Congress appropriates only $2 billion per year.  It's time for Congress to close this funding gap in order to protect the public health of the American people. We thank Congresswoman Kuster for holding this forum and for her leadership on this important issue.”

Kuster is committed to ensuring that communities across the Granite State have access to safe and reliable drinking water, This spring, she met with environmental experts and local officials after water samples in southern New Hampshire revealed elevated levels of PFOA, a possible carcinogen, in the area around the Saint-Gobain Performance Plastic plant in Merrimack. In May, Rep. Kuster wrote to the EPA urging the Agency to expeditiously release a public health advisory for PFOA and PFOS chemicals, which have been found in many private wells in the Southern tier. Many New Hampshire residents rely on private wells for drinking water, and are concerned about the potential long-term health impacts of exposure to unsafe levels of these chemicals. Kuster will continue to meet with communities across the state to discuss their efforts to maintain healthy water infrastructures.