water

Providing Clean Water into the Future: The Benefits of Land Conservation

By Alicia Carlson and Holly Green

When you look at your local surface water supply, what do you see? If you see a shoreline surrounded by shrubs and trees, you likely have few problems with erosion and turbidity. Forested lands are an important first step in protecting surface waters. They can help to ensure a cleaner water supply than in a more developed watershed.

New Hampshire Estuaries Project: Protecting the Coastal Watershed

New Hampshire boasts what is considered by many to be one of the richest coastal estuary systems in the country. In addition to 18 miles of ocean coastline, New Hampshire has 230 miles of sensitive inland tidal shoreline, consisting of bays, tidal rivers and salt marsh systems. The Great Bay Estuary System is comprised of nearly 150 miles of tidal shore land; approximately 4,500 acres of tidal waters and wetlands, along with 3,000 acres of coastal land, comprise the Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve.

State Water Plan Process: Municipalities Have a Crucial Stake

Water has shaped the history of New Hampshire’s communities, in many ways defines their unique character today and will continue to influence their future. The state boasts more than 1,000 lakes and large ponds, 17,000 miles of mapped rivers and streams, 238 miles of ocean and estuarine coastline, and hundreds of thousands of acres of wetlands. Stratified-drift aquifer deposits cover 14 percent of the state and groundwater in bedrock fractures provides water supply via public and private wells to most rural New Hampshire communities.

Protecting Groundwater Resources

Many states and leading experts continue to stress the importance of containing and managing hazardous materials as a necessary strategy to maintain water quality. Managing hazardous materials to avoid releases to New Hampshire’s water continues to be an important goal to ensure high-quality water resources. Releases of hazardous materials, such as gas, oil or solvents, often occur when stormwater washes them from commercial or industrial activities and into surrounding water resources.

Salt in Our Waters: An Emerging Issue for New Hampshire Communities

If a little is good—is more better? Perhaps not when it comes to applying salt to our roadways and parking lots. Recent sampling of several streams in New Hampshire found chloride—a primary component of road salt—at levels above state water quality standards. Testing of streams in the southern I-93 area found that, during various times of the year, chloride levels have exceeded state water quality standards in Beaver Brook, Dinsmore Brook, Policy Brook and a tributary to Canobie Lake. The watersheds for these brooks include parts of Salem, Windham, Derry, Londonderry, Auburn and Chester.

Septage Disposal: Municipal Responsibility is a Key to Clean Water

Clean water is essential for all life. We rely on it for cooking, drinking, bathing, cooling off on a hot day and, yes, even for removing our bathroom waste streams. We often don’t think about where our waste goes when we flush the toilet, and many would rather not think about its fate. However, 80 percent of all New Hampshire residents depend on on-site treatment for their wastewater. This means that their wastewater undergoes treatment in their septic tank before it is discharged into the ground to the leaching field for further treatment, before becoming part of the groundwater.

Protecting Groundwater Resources

Many states and leading experts continue to stress the importance of containing and managing hazardous materials as a necessary strategy to maintain water quality. Managing hazardous materials to avoid releases to New Hampshire’s water continues to be an important goal to ensure high-quality water resources. Releases of hazardous materials, such as gas, oil or solvents, often occur when stormwater washes them from commercial or industrial activities and into surrounding water resources.

Financing Water and Landfill ProjectsState Revolving Fund Loan Program Offers Advantages

Upgrades of water treatment plants, replacement of water distribution mains, landfill closures, interceptor sewers, septage and wastewater treatment can all be big ticket items for a municipality. Drinking water projects, wastewater treatment plant upgrades and landfill closures can cost anywhere from a few thousand dollars on up into multi-millions of dollars, depending on the size and scope of the project. These larger projects are difficult to fund out of a municipality’s operating budget and generally will require some type of debt service.

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