‘Unwarranted Attention’ Brings Closure to Haverhill’s Spring Hill Water; 30 Workers Lose Jobs

(File photograph.)

Despite tests showing newly filtrated water from a Ward Hill farm is clear of any foreign chemicals, the company announced its closing Friday afternoon and laying off of more than 30 employees.

In a letter to customers, Spring Hill Water’s Harold B. Rogers placed the bulk of the blame on “Sensational, fear-inducing headlines” and fluctuating state and federal regulations.”

“…the deluge of unwarranted attention on our company, when PFAS is clearly a national problem with thousands of contributors, has made it impossible for us to keep operating,” said Rogers. He also said, “Spring Hill Dairy Farm has been owned and operated by my family for 117 years. As a fourth-generation owner, it has become my sad task to announce that we will be closing the company.”

Spring Hill Water provided a copy of test results showing certain chemicals known as PFAS were not detected. The company said it spent $100,000 on new filtration to clear its water of the substances. The state Department of Public Health issued an advisory July 2 noting, that while company never exceeded applicable standards, it recommended the water “not be consumed by people who are pregnant or breastfeeding, or by bottle-fed infants.” The state said the substances have been used nationally in carpets, fabrics, food packaging and other materials to make them resistant to water, grease or stains.

One of the first media reports came from Consumer Reports magazine July 12, which noted the matter “came to light as part of an investigation conducted by the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Sciences in preparation for new proposed PFAS standards in that state.” WGBH followed up with a report July 23 as did the Boston Globe July 29. Local media demonstrated restraint and did not publish or air stories until after July 30.

Rogers said news headlines “created an untenable environment,” adding, “There have been many challenges over the years to doing business in Massachusetts. This past month has convinced us that, for our company, the negatives have come to outweigh the positives.”

He thanked customers and said the closing comes with “great sadness and a heavy heart.”

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