Story Produced by
MERRIMACK, NH – Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics has announced it will close its facility in Merrimack.
The announcement comes just a week after the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services approved Saint Gobain for a new state operating permit, a controversial move following major pushback from area residents, officials, and environmental advocates.
Though not legally attributed in court, the state of New Hampshire has credited widespread PFAS contamination in Merrimack, Londonderry, Bedford, Litchfield, and Hudson to activities to the plastics manufacturer.
Saint-Gobain has been providing permanent clean water solutions to approximately 1,000 properties as a condition of a “consent decree” agreed upon with the state.
In a statement released Tuesday morning, Saint-Gobain said it will restructure its Composite Solutions business in the U.S. and as a result will close its facility in Merrimack.
“This decision comes after careful consideration and strategic evaluation of what is best for achieving Saint-Gobain’s core business goals and is in line with the company’s mission and plan,” the statement said.
The company “will continue to work closely with the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services on the ongoing environmental investigation and remediation effort, including providing bottled water and permanent alternate water, as appropriate, within the Consent Decree area,” the statement continued.
Laurene Allen, a co-founder of Merrimack Citizens for Clean Water who serves on the state PFAS Commission, was celebrating the Tuesday announcement, while also looking at the long path ahead.
“The voices of this community, we did this,” she said in an interview. “The work and the effort and not giving up and being persistent and keeping this on the radar.”
Harm has been done and will continue to be, Allen said, as the closing of the facility doesn’t do away with legacy pollution on the site and nearby towns.
“While this is great news and everyone in this town is going to be celebrating big time, it also gives me pause and makes me feel mad and sad and really emotional, because I just think of the people,” Allen said. “Families who have already had health issues and challenges, they’re having more and more. It’s horrible.”
The state published a report in 2021 that found elevated rates of kidney and renal pelvis cancer in Merrimack. Allen said she will continue to fight for Saint-Gobain to fund health studies in the area.