water | New Hampshire Public Radio

water

Courtesy of Deanna Anthony

A judge in Rockingham County has ordered one of New Hampshire's largest privately-owned water utility companies to temporarily limit how much water it pumps from a commercial well, citing major water quality and shortage issues in nearby residential wells.

Sarah Gibson / NHPR

The state's largest water distribution project hits a milestone this month. Households in Salem, Atkinson, and Hampstead will start getting water from Manchester through the Southern New Hampshire Regional Water Interconnection Project.

The interconnection project aims to pipe 3 million gallons of water a day from Manchester to five towns in Southern N.H. facing water shortages and contamination.

John K via Flickr CC

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen is sponsoring a bipartisan bill to restore tax-exempt status to water infrastructure projects, citing unexpected tax hikes in southern New Hampshire and across the country after the Republican-backed Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.

Ceyhun (Jay) Isik / https://flic.kr/p/cG7qFL

 

Lawmakers from southern New Hampshire want to give the state more control over commercial wells run by water companies. The move comes after the town of Hampstead discovered that a private companies' rate of pumping water was contributing to residential wells running dry.

FLORIANHUAG / FLICKR/CC

 

A group of Hampstead residents is suing the town’s privately-operated water utility, Hampstead Area Water Company, and its operator, Lewis Builders Development, alleging the companies’ operations are illegal and have made the residents’ wells virtually unusable. 

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

 

Deanna Anthony remembers the moment she realized there was something wrong with her water.

It was June 2018, and she and her husband Dave had just moved into a house on Main Street in Hampstead, down the road from where Dave grew up. It had a pool, a big yard where their 7-year-old son could play, and a newly drilled well.

“About two weeks after we moved in, all of a sudden the water started coming out thick and orange and staining. It was just really sudden and I’m like - what happened?” she remembers.

Courtesy of Flickr

 

New Hampshire is getting federal money to study the health effects of toxins near a Superfund site in Berlin and in homes and private wells statewide.

The state Department of Health and Human Services’ Public Health Laboratory announced Monday it will use over $5 million from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to monitor residents’ blood and urine samples after potential exposure to chemicals.

Its goal: Increase the state’s understanding of toxin exposure and effective interventions.

Army Corps of Engineers, New England District

The Environmental Protection Agency is requiring the city of Manchester to alert residents when it discharges raw sewage into the Merrimack River. The change is part of a large agreement Manchester is finalizing this year with the EPA to ensure the city's wastewater and stormwater systems comply with the 1994 Clean Water Act. 

N.H. DES

 

The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services is conducting its most extensive sampling of private wells in the state's history.

Over the next year, DES will sample 500 pre-selected wells for hundreds of contaminants with the goal of understanding overall water quality in private wells across the state.

DES will test for everything from bacteria and metals to PFAS chemicals, which have been linked to health problems.

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

This summer, towns in southern New Hampshire are breaking ground on what will become the state’s largest regional water system. It is being built in part with money from massive settlements between New Hampshire and gas companies, including ExxonMobil, that used to produce MtBE, a chemical that polluted local drinking water. 

Courtesy of Flickr/Elke Mader

 

The towns of Peterborough and Jaffrey are considering a joint project to buy and manage a group of wells for their municipal water systems. 

 

A company based out of Chicago owns the parcel in question, named the Cold Stone Spring. It encompasses over 500 acres in Sharon and Jaffrey and includes three wells that have already received approval from the Department of Environmental Services to pump 577,000 gallons of water per day. Collectively, the towns expect to pump around 200,000 gallons per day.

 

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

A private water utility company is getting pushback for its plans to build a major commercial well in Hampstead.

The Hampstead Area Water Company (HAWC) wants a permit from the Department of Environmental Services (DES) to build a new well near Angle Pond. The well would pump up to 160 gallons per minute, a rate twice as fast as HAWC's existing wells in Hampstead and Atkinson.

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

Residents in southern New Hampshire could be looking at higher water bills because of a new federal tax on private water utilities.

Allegra Boverman

 

Governor Sununu is urging the U.S. Senate to reverse what he says are unintended consequences of the Republican-backed tax bill that went into effect last year.   

Under the old tax code,  when private water utility companies got grants from the government or help from developers to upgrade their systems, they didn’t have to pay tax on this. 

Erin Holmes, of the Department of Environmental Services, says now all those upgrades have a new federal tax of 30 %. 

FLORIANHUAG / FLICKR/CC

Towns in Southern New Hampshire are moving ahead with a major construction project to increase water supply to the region.

On Tuesday, voters in Salem approved a deal to buy over a million gallons of water per day from Manchester Water Works.

The water will be sold to residents in Salem and other nearby towns facing water shortages due to increasing population and limited local water sources.

John K via Flickr CC

 

The Department of Education has received $1.6 million in federal funds to help schools pay for upgrades to water systems found to have lead.

The grant is coming through the N.H Department of Environmental Services, which received the money as part of a 2013 settlement with Exxon Mobil.

USDA

The town of Plymouth is getting $5.5 million in federal grants and more than $7 million in loans to upgrade its aging water and sewer systems.

The money is from the rural development arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. New Hampshire’s Congressional delegation praised the funding in a joint statement this week.

Under new federal legislation, the Environmental Protection Agency will work to deepen its understanding of 10 chemicals in commercial use. Topping that list is 1,4-dioxane, which has also been found in drinking water in a Hanover, New Hampshire, neighborhood. 

Something Wild: Cyanobacteria

Jul 15, 2016
Courtesy DES

To everything there is a season and this is the season when we go swimming and we spend a lot of time talking about Cyanobacteria. So what is it, exactly? Sonya Carlson is head of the Beach Inspection Program with the state Department of Environmental Services and gave us a primer on the micro-organism.

lrargerich via Flickr/Creative Commons

Parts of southern New Hampshire are now in a severe drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

The affected area includes much of Rockingham and Hillsborough counties, as well as southern portions of Cheshire and Strafford counties.

Flood forecasting and contaminants in drinking water are among the issues at this week's conference on New Hampshire water and policy issues. 

Shane Burkhardt via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/yZ34mF

For decades, environmentalists have fought to keep plastic, glass, paper and other recyclables out of landfills where they’d sit for thousands of years…so, is recycling truly making a difference in the health of the planet? Today, some data that challenges recycling’s sanctified status.

Then, India’s government says it will clean up the horribly polluted Ganges, the river which supports ten percent of the world’s population. The first step: working with the Hindu belief that the Ganges is holy, self-purifying and the place to be buried. 

Gloconda Beekman / Flickr/CC

After the Flint, Michigan water crisis, many around the country started taking a closer look their own water systems. And with a recent contamination scare in southern New Hampshire by the chemical PFOA  - the concerns have become local.  We'll look at the state's sources for drinking water, and the challenges to delivering it free from contaminants.

Penn State via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/auaiVV

For decades, environmentalists have fought to keep plastic, glass, paper and other recyclables out of landfills where they’d sit for thousands of years…so, is recycling truly making a difference in the health of the planet? Today, some data that challenges recycling’s sanctified status. Then, India’s government says it will clean up the horribly polluted Ganges, the river which supports ten percent of the world’s population. The first step: working with the Hindu belief that the Ganges is holy, self-purifying and the place to be buried. 

Joe Shlabotnik/flickr

 

Portsmouth residents and business owners are being asked to conserve water.

Brian Goetz, the deputy public works director, tells the Portsmouth Herald a control valve at a water treatment plant in Madbury failed during a thunderstorm Tuesday night, reducing water production by a third.

Shortage Forces Newmarket to Limit Water Use

Aug 4, 2015
kurtschwehr/Flickr Creative Commons / http://bit.ly/1IKHpiL

Lower than average rainfall is prompting officials in Newmarket to limit water use for the first time in a decade.

Residents and businesses who use the town's municipal water system may only water their lawns twice a week: odd numbered addresses on Mondays and Wednesdays, and even numbered addresses on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Pam Hunt; NH Audubon

We’re standing up to our shins in Turkey Pond, on a warm July morning with Pam Hunt, a biologist with New Hampshire Audubon who has spent the last five years organizing, in conjunction with NH Fish and Game, the New Hampshire Dragonfly Survey. Hunt trained about a hundred volunteers to gather data and help map the distribution of dragonflies across the state. 

www.portsmouthwastewater.com

 

The City Council in Portsmouth has voted to approve a $90.1 million plan to upgrade the existing Peirce Island wastewater plant.

The Portsmouth Herald reports it will be the most expensive public project in the city's history.

The vote came despite the continued assertion by City Manager John Bohenko that the cost has been inflated as much as $40 million because of the Environmental Protection Agency's belief that nitrogen discharge from the plant is hurting Great Bay. He said there's "no impairment" on the bay.

 

Environmental officials say the closing of a contaminated well near the main runway of the Portsmouth International Airport at Pease may lead to other wells being contaminated with high levels of a harmful chemical.

Portsmouth officials shut down the Haven well last year, after testing showed it has higher than safe levels of perfluorochemicals, known as PFOs.

Scott Hilton, project manager for the DES's Pease Superfund site, tells the Portsmouth Press Herald that contaminants now may flow into two wells south of the Haven well at the Pease International Tradeport.

Logan Shannon / NHPR

The recent disintegration and crash of a Virgin Galactic suborbital space plane raised questions about the safety and viability of space tourism. On today’s show we consider another issue for commercial spaceflight….the psychological effects of leaving earth.

Then, we can all remember our favorite sports movies – but what about our favorite sports-based books? Bill Littlefield of NPR’s Only a Game talks about his favorite sportswriters, and reads from his new collection of athletics inspired poetry. 

Plus, a conversation with America’s only water sommelier. That’s right, water sommelier.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

Pages