Access to clean water affects residential and commercial real estate - by Douglas Martin

June 07, 2019 - Northern New England
Douglas Martin,
Colliers International

In the March message, I mentioned that we were tracking a number of bills, one of which had to do with water contamination. Senate Bill 287 would require the commissioner of the department of environmental services to revise rules relative to perfluorinated chemical contamination in drinking water. 

Access to clean water affects the residential and commercial real estate sectors in a number of different ways. I wanted to include an excerpt from an article written by one of our affiliate members to help educate the CRE community. 

Quoting Marie Degulis:

“PFAS, Per and Poly Fluorinated Substances, are all over the place in our environment as they’ve been part of manufacturing processes and consumer products since the 1930s. These chemicals were designated as Persistent Organic Pollutants in 2009 and phased out of manufacturing completely in 2015. Today in N.H., PFAS are being found in our drinking water supplies and health advisories have been set at 38/70 ppt for PFOS/PFOA, respectively. Two other chemicals included in these new advisories are currently unregulated. Regulators are seeking limits of 23/85 ppt for PFNA/PFHxS, respectively.

The existing research can explain some of the sources and causes of PFAS contamination, but not all and not conclusively. Regardless of who is responsible for its presence in the water supply, properties are affected and the families who own or want to own them want the drinking water quality to be protected against this PFAS occurrence. Testing for PFAS is easy, but can be expensive, around $300 for the specified panel. 

When PFAS contamination in N.H. was initially identified in Merrimack and Bedford in 2016, Secondwind Water Systems spent our own time and money analyzing water quality in our installed base of customers. Through this research, we found that the residential clients who had installed Point of Use, POU, reverse osmosis technology for their drinking water, were able to stop the PFAS from being consumed. That was a relief and offered us a guide toward configuring future water treatment solutions for successful removal. As well, granular activated carbon, when properly sized, provides Point of Entry or POE, whole house protection. Since there are other water quality considerations included in the decision to treat for PFAS, make sure a certified water specialist looks at the specific property situation in order to meet the seller’s or buyer’s water quality expectations.”

We will also be hosting a continuing education class on this topic in the coming months, so please stay tuned for more information. 

Douglas Martin is the 2019 president of NHCIBOR, Bedford, N.H. 

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