PORTSMOUTH — A group of city officials repeatedly stated this week that contaminants from the Coakley landfill have not contaminated any groundwater in nearby residential wells in Greenland.

“Groundwater hasn't migrated to anywhere where there's any health concerns,” City Manager John Bohenko said at a meeting of the Seacoast Media Group editorial board this week. “That came directly from DES (N.H. Department of Environmental Services). There are no health concerns with groundwater; with the surface water that still remains to be seen.”

At another point in the nearly two-hour meeting, Bohenko stated “the water isn't contaminated, the water isn't contaminated.”

City Attorney Robert Sullivan, Environmental Planner Peter Britz, Mayor Jack Blalock, Assistant Mayor Cliff Lazenby and City Councilor Chris Dwyer also attended the meeting. Sullivan is the head of the Coakley Landfill Group's executive committee and Britz works for the group.

The CLG is made up of municipalities, waste generators and transporters who used the landfill, a Superfund cleanup site in Greenland and North Hampton. The group is responsible under two federal consent decrees to clean it up. The city of Portsmouth bears a 53.6 percent responsibility for the cost of the remediation.

Mike Deyling, a longtime consultant for the CLG, also attended the meeting as did Boston attorney Seth Jaffe, who represents the waste generators.

The officials addressed a wide range of issues concerning the CLG's handling of the cleanup.

They also made it clear they are not prepared to do anything for Greenland residents who worry their wells might be contaminated unless they're compelled to do it by the federal Environmental Protection Agency, which is overseeing the site's cleanup.

“Moving forward if we had an opportunity to help our neighbors get clean water to … clean their water that was contaminated, we'd obviously be interested in helping them do that,” Blalock said when asked what the elected officials in the room were prepared to do to help Greenland residents. “But obviously not to provide or spend resources or energy or money, if it's not contaminated. There wouldn't be any point on spending money on treating not contaminated water.”

Residents near the landfill worry dangerous chemicals leaching from the landfill will contaminate their residential drinking wells. Monitoring wells at the landfill found 1,4-dioxane at levels above the EPA's health advisory level and PFOS levels as high as 1,108 parts per trillion. Both chemicals are suspected carcinogens. The health advisory for PFOS and PFOA is 70 ppt. Tests in Berry Brook near the landfill found levels of PFAS chemicals in surface water nearly three times higher than the health advisory level for groundwater.

No private wells have tested above the health advisory level, as Deyling pointed out several times during the presentation to the editorial board. He also said monitoring wells were tested once a year, in August, until last year when a second round of tests were added in the springtime.

NHDES officials previously said they asked the CLG to treat the high levels of PFAS chemicals in Berry Brook, but it refused. Jaffe, a member of the CLG's three-person executive committee, noted EPA is the lead agency on the cleanup.

“What we said, and we don't get to decide, the EPA gets to decide, we don't know enough yet to know either if we need to do something, or if we need to do something, what it would be,” Jaffe said. “We haven't refused, we said it's premature, let's do all this work, that's all.”

The CLG is revising its proposal for a deep bedrock study at the site after the EPA recently ordered it to make a series of changes to the draft it first submitted.

Deyling said this week the study could take two years to complete. The study will help determine if there are any pathways in the deep bedrock that contaminants in groundwater on the site could follow to nearby residential wells, EPA officials have said.

Blalock and other officials touted the city's upcoming community meeting on the Coakley landfill June 7 at 7 p.m. at the Community Campus in Portsmouth.

“We're quite proud of the fact that we're going to be having this community meeting on June 7. I think for the first time maybe everybody will be in the same place at the same time. All of the information that's been in boxes and various places will be available and has been sifted through,” Blalock said in reference to nearly 30 boxes of information concerning the CLG city staff has compiled.

Sullivan previously pledged to release all the information in the boxes to members of the public who wanted to see it. But a few days after the initial release, he refused to release anything but the typically three to four pages of minutes from the CLG's executive committee meetings. There are thousands of pages of documents related to CLG operations that the public and press cannot see.

Asked why that decision was made, Blalock said, “That would be not a question that I could answer.”

Sullivan pointed to a lawsuit brought against the CLG and him by several area lawmakers and said the matter is still pending in court. Jaffe also defended keeping the documents secret, but added “from my perspective the way this site has been handled, is absolutely run of the mill.”

“At a fundamental level at certain points groups like this have to be able to talk among themselves in a way that is free and open and confidential among themselves,” he said. “You can't have that freedom and openness of conversation if everything is going to be public.”

Sullivan previously said the CLG has spent about $27 million on remediation at the landfill but he couldn't say how that money was spent. Bohenko asked the city's Finance Department eight weeks ago to conduct an internal audit into the group's spending. He told the editorial board it should be complete in about two weeks.

“There's been nothing unusual that we've seen,” Bohenko said.

Concerning other CLG-related topics, officials:

* Acknowledged the CLG will have to reimburse the federal government $2.75 million plus interest if the group never installs a groundwater treatment system at the landfill. Bohenko has said Portsmouth's share will be $3.19 million if the cleanup of the site is certified in 2035.

* Denied there was a “conspiracy” not to install a pump-and-treat system at the landfill, according to Jaffe. The treatment system was required by the EPA as part of the first consent decree the CLG signed. The EPA agreed to drop the requirement after the CLG lobbied it, the Department of Justice and New Hampshire's congressional delegation. The CLG began lobbying the EPA three years before the landfill was capped.

* Explained the CLG agreed in 2016 to pay developer Eric Chinburg as much as $200,000 to reimburse him for his cost to run a water line to a new development near the landfill because the EPA was pressuring it to do so. It has refused to pay for municipal water for other nearby developments, including one across the street from Chinburg's subdivision.

“The EPA had a concern that even though the water wells … did not have (contaminated water) … they were concerned that if 10 wells started to operate in the location right at the toe of the cap, that those 10 wells might somehow suck something from underneath the cap,” Sullivan said.

* Pledged to do whatever the EPA instructed them to do. “We are trying to do the cleanup … my clients aren't embarrassed about it, in the most cost-effective way,” Jaffe said.