Getting Water to your Faucet Takes a Lot of Care and Money

October 5, 2018



by Len Lathrop

While visiting the reclamation of the Gordon Street water tank last week and this week as the outside is being painted, many story lines arise, all beginning with Hudson water.

As always, Town Engineer Elvis Dhima was the source to answer many of the questions and, during the discussion, many more ideas floated to the surface. When you open the faucet on the sink and the water comes out, how did it get there? Many readers have their own wells with pumps and tanks in their cellar to get water, and others get their water from the Town of Hudson and, of course, receive a monthly bill from the town.

Back on Jan. 13, 1998, a Special Town Meeting was held for the acquisition of the water system from Consumers New Hampshire Water Company, which was approved by a greater than two-thirds majority; and the Hudson Board of Selectmen adopted ordinances and bylaws relating to the water system or structures as required for proper maintenance and operation. At that time, the town purchased three wells in Litchfield as part of the agreement, and all the infrastructure of the system. To operate the system, the town entered into an agreement with Pennichuck Water Works in Nashua.

Today’s article focuses on the maintenance service; the selection and staff entered a contract for five years with White Water to take over the operation and maintenance of the system from Pennichuck.

This service agreement includes everything relative to the water system — from the pipes and valves, fire hydrants, water pressure from the tanks, the wells and quality and treatment of the water, and the homeowner usage and billing.

As for fire hydrants, there are 423 in Hudson, when White Water took over, 12 were out of service across the town, To date, ten have been repaired with only two still out of service. Sixty-two percent of the town hydrants have been checked. When a hydrant needs repair, depending on what the problem is, it can cost between $3,000 to $8,000 per hydrant. While no one wants to think about a house fire, but water is needed a broken hydrant is big problem. Some of the pipes in Hudson were installed in the early 1950s those are mostly on Lowell Road and Central Street, according to Dhima. A third mechanical aspect of the infrastructure involves the valves, which can be opened and closed to isolate a break in the pipe or other problems or when a new connection is added.

The White Water team uses the town’s GIS system to track where work is being done or has been done. Dhima demonstrated the fire hydrants in the town, these are color coded based on their viability.

Another improvement with the new operators is the installation of new radio frequency usage sending unit outside your home. It used to take three weeks to get all the data on usage in Hudson. The new units allow the collection of the data by simply driving by the house. The collection timeframe to do the entire town is down to seven days, and, when the conversion is completed, it is projected to take only eight hours.

With all the statewide news about PFOA in neighboring towns Merrimack and Litchfield, Hudson has two active community wells in Litchfield, and they were both tested in March 2016 for PFOA. One well tested for 7 parts per trillion and the other tested for 9 parts per trillion. Both wells have tested below state (100 parts per trillion) and federal (400 parts per trillion) levels.

In closing this week’s story about water in Hudson, think about this … Hudson wheels water to Pelham, Windham, Litchfield, and Londonderry. Their systems are supplied through Hudson pipes and, of course, they pay, but as the Town of Hudson owns the system, the average homeowner pays around $25 a month. Consider that the folks in Litchfield where Pennichuck owns the system pay $65 to $70 a month.

In the upcoming weeks, the HLN will visit the water company again to look at the cost of operation.