EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Election Connection

October 24, 2012

Shaheen calls for Dioxane response

EPA decision on treatment, water line expected in November

ATKINSON — U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., is joining residents and town officials in calling for the Environmental Protection Agency to act on contaminated well water.

In the coming weeks, the EPA is expected to announce how it will handle some 34 homes with well water contaminated with 1,4 Dioxane.

A community meeting will be held on Nov. 14 at 7 p.m. at the Atkinson Community Center. The EPA’s decision will be announced to the public at the meeting, according to Barbara Snicer, town administrative assistant.

In the meantime, town officials haven’t heard anything from the EPA or the state Department of Environmental Services regarding the EPA’s response, according to Snicer.

“They’ve gone over several options,” she said. “There will be nothing more than that until (Nov. 14) to my knowledge, unless they do notify the office in between.”

Dioxane is a manmade, cancer-causing compound the state began to require testing for in 2011. The contamination was accidentally discovered near the end of last year, after well water containing Dioxane was being tested for other impurities.

In a letter to EPA administrator Lisa Jackson, Shaheen urged the agency to provide the needed funds to Atkinson “to extend the town water line to residents whose drinking water has been contaminated.”

“Representatives from Atkinson and leadership of the (DES) have concluded that an extension of the town’s waterline is the way to address the contamination,” Shaheen wrote. “Now that a viable solution has been identified, I hope that the EPA will approve the funds for extension of the town’s water line as soon as possible.”

It may not be that easy, according to Snicer.

“The issue is that most of the funds for this sort of thing have been used up for this particular calendar year,” she said. “We appreciate Sen. Shaheen’s efforts to encourage them to try to find the money, so we can resolve this problem for our residents as soon as possible.”

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