Helping to sustain a high quality of life for all citizens by protecting and restoring the environment and public health in New Hampshire.

a mntage of images of employees workingThe mission of the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services is to help sustain a high quality of life for all citizens by protecting and restoring the environment and public health in New Hampshire. The protection and wise management of the state’s environment are the main goals of the agency. 

Formed in January 1987 by state statute RSA 21-O, NHDES was legislatively created through the consolidation and reorganization of four previously separate agencies: the Air Resources Agency, the Office of Waste Management, the Water Supply and Pollution Control Commission, and the Water Resources Board. Each of these groups is now represented within the department’s three divisions: Air Resources, Waste Management and Water. NHDES leadership is composed of the agency commissioner, assistant commissioner, chief financial officer and directors of the three divisions.

The Air Resources Division is responsible for achieving and maintaining air quality in New Hampshire that is protective of public health and our natural environment. The division is committed to promoting cost-effective, sensible strategies and control measures to address the many complex and inter-related air quality issues facing the state, such as ground-level ozone, small particle pollution, regional haze (visibility), mercury contamination, climate change, acid deposition and air toxics.

The Waste Management Division promotes responsible waste management and ensures solid wastes and regulated hazardous materials are properly handled and disposed. The division's remediation programs conduct prompt clean-up of hazardous spills and work to restore contaminated sites to productive use while protecting the environment and public health.

The Water Division is tasked with protecting the numerous lakes, ponds and rivers in the state, as well as valuable groundwater. Under guidance from the New Hampshire Water Council and the New Hampshire Wetlands Council, the division conducts a variety of programs designed to ensure the protection of these waters in a variety of areas, such as public water systems, private water wells, source water protection, wetlands, wastewater engineering, septic systems, river and lake monitoring and healthy swimming.

In addition, NHDES is home to the New Hampshire Geological Survey and the NH Pollution Prevention (P2) Program, focuses on Strategic Planning and Quality Assurance from the Commissioner's Office on down, and provides services such as the Small Business Ombudsmen and Pre-Application Meetings.

See a brief outline of the organization of divisions at NHDES.

Boards and Committees

NHDES performs program support services for several legislatively created boards and committees, including the Oil Disbursement and Water Well boards, and leads others, like the Water Quality Standards Advisory Committee.

NHDES Strategic Plan

Combined with high-quality environmental data, detailed work plans and agreements with key stakeholders and funders, our Strategic Plan ensures that the agency is able to achieve its mission.