Up to 360 Litchfield Homes and Businesses could Connect to Public Water

September 2, 2016



by Kaylee Murphy

Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics has arranged to secure bids to extend the Litchfield public water system.  Litchfield homes and businesses have the opportunity to connect to public water.  Saint-Gobain has agreed to the connection of up to 360 Litchfield homes and businesses.

Approximately 124 private wells of businesses and homes have tested at or above 70 parts per trillion of perfluorooctanoic acid, which is the health advisory level set by the New Hampshire Ambient Groundwater Quality Standard and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Health Advisory level for PFOA in drinking water.  New Hampshire has adopted that level as the state’s Ambient Groundwater Quality Standard under emergency rulemaking.  However, due to the close proximity to the remaining 236 private wells, Saint-Gobain has agreed that those properties should gain access to public water as well.

Larry Goodhue CEO of Pennichuck said that now the job is to find the lowest costing contractors that are fully qualified, eligible, and who are available.  The cost of getting hooked up to public water can range greatly due to many factors and variables, but it typically ranges in the thousands.

Pennichuck Water Works, Inc. is planning the final proposed rate changed with the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission either on or after Sept. 19.  According to Pennichuck their average customer pays about $50.14 per month; the increase would be an added $9.77 per month.  The current average annual cost is $601.68 and the new average annual cost would be $718.92.  For people in Litchfield who did not previously have a public water bill this could be a problem.  Pennichuck’s last rate increase was in 2010.

In 2015 the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services conducted a survey.  Although Litchfield did not participate, but Hudson did.  The average annual NH water rate is $473.60.  They found that, in the past five years, most systems have raised rates.

Due to the lack of rain this summer, New Hampshire residents with private wells are facing the risk of running dry.  Some private wells have already run dry.  Both Hudson and Litchfield are under water restrictions and are in the severe drought area according to the NHDES.  This is the first time since the 1980s that a section of NH has been in an extreme drought.  A section of southern NH is in the New Hampshire Drought Management Team has made and determined that the abnormally dry conditions will likely last through the end of November.

According to meteorologist Kevin Skarupa from WMUR-9, since June 1, Manchester has had 5.21 inches of rain, which is about 5.80 inches below normal.

The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services is getting sporadic reports of dried up wells, however, they won’t know the exact number of dry wells until this quarter has ended.  Since it is predicted that the drought may last until the end of fall, there is a chance that more wells may dry up.

There are pros and cons for going on public water and for having a private well.  Being connected to public water you are getting safe drinking water even when there is a drought or a power outage, but you are also getting an added monthly expense.  With a private well there is no monthly expense, but your water could become tainted and if there’s a drought there is a chance that a household could run out of water.

For more information visit www.pennichuck.com or http://des.nh.gov.