Canterbury and Londonderry in New Hampshire are set to receive over $3 million in grants and loans to address contamination from perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in their drinking water supplies. The grants and loans will provide alternative water sources to Cornish Elementary School and the Olde Country Village housing complex in Londonderry. The recommendations were made by state officials, and the decision will be taken up by the Executive Council at their meeting in Canterbury.
The Environmental Services Commissioner, Robert Scott, stated that his agency has recommended spending $200,000 from the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to drill a new bedrock well for Cornish Elementary School. The school’s existing drinking water source was found to be contaminated with PFAS, with levels twice the recommended allowable limit. The ARPA program allows for spending on water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure, making it an appropriate source of funding for the drilling project.
In addition to the funding for Cornish Elementary School, the Executive Council will also consider approving up to $2.9 million from the Department of Environmental Services (DES) to address contamination in the Olde Country Village neighborhood in Londonderry. This funding will be used to connect the neighborhood to the Pennichuck East Utility’s Londonderry Core system, eliminating the use of contaminated wells. The project is aimed at assisting moderate-income family homes.
The Drinking Water and Groundwater Trust Fund provided an emergency grant of $900,000 to the Olde Country Village project last February, recognizing the financial hardship and urgency of the situation. The remaining $2 million in grants and loans will be used to increase the size of the new water main pipe from 8 to 12 inches. This upgrade will not only support future connections for other small water systems in the region affected by PFAS contamination but also improve the overall water infrastructure.
Another topic to be discussed at the Executive Council meeting is the extension of a contract with Maxim Healthcare Staffing Services Inc. of Manchester. Health and Human Services Commissioner Lori Weaver seeks to continue the contract for six more months, ensuring a qualified workforce at the Sununu Youth Services Center. The contract, if approved, will run through April 2024, with total payments to Maxim amounting to $2.35 million.
Furthermore, the council will address a nearly $27 million cost overrun necessary to complete the replacement project for the Sarah Mildred Long Bridge in Portsmouth. The bridge, which carries traffic on U.S. Route 1 Bypass over the Piscataqua River between Portsmouth and Kittery, Maine, was initially budgeted at $18 million in 2017. However, due to the age and quality of the initial estimates, along with inflation in construction spending, the project’s cost has increased to $44.7 million. The entire cost will be covered by federal grants.
These issues of funding and infrastructure highlight the ongoing commitment of state officials to address water contamination issues and ensure the safety and well-being of residents across New Hampshire. The decisions made by the Executive Council will have a significant impact on the affected communities, providing them with necessary resources and infrastructure improvements.
More detail via UnionLeader.com here… ( Image via UnionLeader.com )