LONDONDERRY — The town seeks residents who may want to serve on a new task force to study and address the community's rising water concerns.
The Town Council announced a plan to form the new group at a meeting on Jan. 18 and is expected to make a formal resolution final at its Feb. 1 meeting.
The task force would be charged with working on Londonderry's water contamination issues in its drinking water. The group will also partner with New Hampshire's Department of Environmental Services to help put any recommendations into action plans for both short- and long-term time frames and help develop solutions to address the PFAF contamination issues affecting residents in town.
The task force will be made up of three resident members who have occupations or training in the environmental/chemical engineering field, environmental sciences, toxicology or hydrogeology, etc., and three members who are at-large resident members, one from each of the following districts: Matthew Thornton Elementary School district; North School district; and South School district. Backgrounds in engineering, science or public health is also preferable.
In addition to the resident members, the task force will be chaired by a member of the Town Council and will work in conjunction with staff from the Planning Department, Department of Public Works and Engineering, and the office of the town manager.
Earlier this month, councilors heard from the state about updates with well testing in town and how any progress was being made to support those residents with higher than acceptable level of various contaminants.
That included testing wells in the community.
At that meeting, Town Council Chairman John Farrell also voiced his concerns, saying he was "underwhelmed" by the state's timeline for getting things accomplished.
At the most recent meeting, Farrell continued speaking about his concerns, saying he was still disheartened by the state's response to the water issues.
Farrell said by putting the new task force in place, the town can continue to work with the state, and also have members of the new group take on the challenge of finding solutions.
The teamwork with the state will be good, Farrell noted, adding the state will make Londonderry's issues a top priority.
"We were a little underwhelmed by DES," Farrell said, "and we don't want to be underwhelmed again."
Farrell said the town will hold the state accountable.
Water has taken up many discussion in town in past years.
Earlier meetings drew crowds of residents speaking out about their water concerns and potential dangers found in several areas of town.
DES officials also joined in those earlier discussions, giving updates to residents about the water issues, with some identified as part of the Saint-Gobain investigation.
Saint-Gobain, a facility in Merrimack, has been targeted for several years as a facility where certain industrially-produced compounds, including PFOA, or perfluorooctanoic acid, and PFAS, or polyfluoroalkyl substances, are causing contamination in nearby communities, now including portions of Londonderry nearest to the Litchfield town line.
Other areas of town are also of concern when it comes to water quality.
Anyone interested in serving on the new task force can find an application on the town website at londonderrynh.org. The application deadline is Feb. 12 at 5 p.m. Anyone with questions can call the town manager's office at 603-432-1100, ext. 120.
The council will conduct interviews for task force members on Feb. 16, 7 p.m.