EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

October 20, 2013

Plaistow tackles water issues

By Alex Lippa

---- — PLAISTOW — Last month, Plaistow officials held a symposium as they gathered new ideas for a public water supply. Now, they are starting to put some of those ideas into action.

The town is in the process of applying for money from the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services. The money would fund a program to protect the town’s aquifers and a feasibility study to identify potential water sources.

“We have to begin a journey of 1,000 miles with one step,” Fitzgerald said. “It is incredibly important that the town of Plaistow addresses these issues now.”

The town will apply for money from the Gasoline Remediation and Elimination of Ethers Fund, as well as a Source Protection Grant. The money from the GREE Fund is a reimbursement fund which towns can apply for.

“In a case where there is contaminated groundwater, entities can apply for reimbursement,” said Gary Lynn, DES petroleum remediation section manager.

In Plaistow, contaminated groundwater has been found at the former Lido gas station, as well as the Beede waste oil site.

The funds would also cover a feasibility study which would evaluate the conversion of existing fire suppression line to drinkable water, and identify alternative water supply options.

“It would be basically be evaluating better ways to provide clean drinking water to impacted parcels,” Lynn said. “Currently, some parcels have to use water treatment facilities.”

There is no cap to the amount Plaistow can request from the GREE Fund.

The town is also applying for the Source Protection Grant, which will focus on prevention strategies to protect the town’s aquifers. Plaistow could receive up to $20,000 from that grant.

“This grant could be anything to developing a plant to implementing a zoning ordinance,” said Pierce Rigrod, a DES environmental analyst. “We want to protect our resources and the resources they rely on.”

Funding would be used to create a Best Management Plan Inspection Program. The program would conduct inventory interviews with potential contaminated sites to evaluate what chemicals are stored and used on site. The program would allow the town to conduct inspections of sites to prevent possible contaminants.

“These are life safety issues,” Fitzgerald said. “This is critically important, not just as an environmental resource, but as a public health resource for the town.”

The town has until Nov. 1 to apply for the grants. The grants will be awarded in January 2014.