AFCEC hosts former Pease AFB RAB tour

  • Published
  • By Linda Geissinger
  • Air Force Civil Engineer Center

PORTSMOUTH, N.H. -- The Air Force Civil Engineer Center hosted a site tour Oct. 4 for the Pease Restoration Advisory Board of three water treatment plants installed by the Air Force since the discovery of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances in a municipal drinking well on the former Pease Air Force Base, New Hampshire, in 2016.

Participants toured Site 8 and the Airfield Interim Mitigation System treatment plants and the City of Portsmouth Grafton Road drinking water plant. All three sites have new filtration systems. The tour group included community RAB members and representatives of local elected officials, City of Portsmouth, New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 

Each system functions to restore the groundwater and protect the drinking water. Specifically, their functions include:

Site 8 Interim Mitigation System treats PFAS-impacted groundwater using granular activated carbon and an ion exchange resin to hydraulically control the primary PFAS source area at the north end of the former Pease. Groundwater deep below the surface is pumped to the system through a series of extraction wells located in the Newington Town forest, north of the treatment building. The treated groundwater is then reinfiltrated, replenishing the aquifer. The Site 8 Groundwater Treatment System treated 66 million gallons since plant startup in 2018

The Airfield Interim Mitigation System protects the Haven Well, a primary source of drinking water for the area. It treats PFAS-impacted groundwater using a series of granular activated carbon vessels followed by ion exchange resin. Impacted groundwater is supplied by a series of extraction wells located on and off the airfield. The treated groundwater is then pumped into a series of injection wells located in the Pease airfield, replenishing the aquifer. The plant has treated more than 540 million gallons since startup in 2019.

The Grafton Road Drinking Water Plant provides drinking water to the community. A large-scale filtration system funded by the Air Force treats water from this plant. The plant was upgraded in 2019-2021 to treat the Smith, Harrison and Haven Wells for PFAS using a combination of ion exchange resin followed by granular activated carbon. The treated drinking water is then supplied to the Pease Drinking Water System.

The Pease Restoration Advisory Board is made up of volunteers from the community interested in learning detailed information about the PFAS cleanup. The board also includes environmental stakeholders from local, state and national agencies along with Air Force representatives. Meetings are held quarterly and related materials are available online at