EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

May 7, 2014

Clean water coming to Atkinson homes

EPA pays to replace contaminated wells

ATKINSON — Relief is coming for residents who have been using bottled water for more than two years due to contaminated wells.

Work is underway install a water main for homes on Belknap Drive, Brookside Terrace, Emery Drive, Deer Run Road and Oak Ridge Drive.

Nineteen homes will be hooked up to the main, a project paid for by the federal Environmental Protection Agency. They are among 47 homes with contaminated wells, said John McKeown, EPA New England on-scene coordinator.

Only homes with wells exceeding three parts per billion will benefit from the EPA funding.

In January, U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., visited town and said she was baffled the EPA wouldn’t provide water to all homes with contaminated wells.

She, U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., and Congresswoman Annie Kuster, D-N.H., wrote to the EPA about the issue.

For now, the project as planned should be complete by mid-August, McKeown said.

But a lot of work has to happen before clean water starts flowing.

Traces of the chemical 1,4 Dioxane — known to cause cancer — were detected in well three years ago in wells on the roads targeted by the project. Eighteen homes exceed the limit of three parts per billion in their water.

The first phase of the project is on Brookside Terrace, said Emily Zimmerman, EPA New England community involvement coordinator.

Once that work winds down, crews will move to Belknap Drive and Emery Drive, she said. The second phase would continue the water main to Deer Run Road and Oak Ridge Drive, Zimmerman said.

As work on individual streets wraps up, another contractor will begin connecting the main to homes covered by the EPA. Bidding on that project ends this week, McKeown said.

That work will be more aggressive, as crews will move from property to property, running a water pipe 5 feet underground and into basements, McKeown said.

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