LONDONDERRY — After months of discussion and study, the town’s task force on community water concerns offered information and recommendations to Town Council.
The group was put in place earlier this year, with a charge to work on Londonderry’s water contamination issues in its drinking water, specifically PFAS-related contamination.
Once in place, the task force then divided into three teams to address three goals to include gaining a better knowledge of the specific contaminants found in Londonderry’s water and to identify well water testing resources; identify, study and make recommendations as to what potential remediation and mitigation measures might be; and to help Council and town staff with informing the public about sampling, contamination and ways to mitigate contamination problems.
The group also worked 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 contamination issues affecting residents in town.
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, a facility in Merrimack targeted for several years as a facility where certain industrially-produced compounds led to contamination issues in nearby communities, now including parts of Londonderry.
Specific areas of Londonderry fall under a consent decree holding the Merrimack facility responsible for water contamination and mitigation efforts.
Those areas are located on High Range Road heading west, according to task force leader and Town Councilor Tom Dolan.
Other areas of town are also of concern when it comes to water quality. Residents living in areas outside the consent decree area falling under Saint-Gobain responsibility would be responsible for their own wells and mitigation efforts.
Dolan said the town plans to put efforts in place to support residents needing water contamination relief.
Financial support through state/federal grants or other monies available is expected to come to Londonderry, Dolan said, but the timetable is still uncertain on when that money would be available.
“We feel we will be able to help those people outside the consent decree area,” Dolan said at a recent Council meeting.
Future recommendations from the task force include offering a non-binding referendum vote on the next town ballot in March 2022 asking voters if they would like to see the Council move forward with steps to implement a town-wide water system.
Dolan added the task force also recommends the town adding a technical staff member or hiring a consulting firm with water pollution experience to help monitor the town’s water status and response to contamination and to help with long-term planning efforts.