Kingston water nonsense

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Kingston water nonsense

Postby curt » Thu Feb 25, 2010 2:52 am

Published: February 25, 2010 12:46 am ShareThis PrintThis

Kingston voters asked to establish water utility
By Eric Parry

KINGSTON — Kingston has one of the state's largest and best aquifers, according to town officials. In order to protect that resource, town officials are proposing a Town Meeting warrant article to establish a municipal water utility. The article would not cost anything and requires a two-thirds majority for approval.

Selectman Mark Heitz said if the article were to pass, Kingston would have some control if a water company proposed putting a well in town. All town residents use individual wells for their water supply and depend on the health of the aquifer, he said.

"The town has a lot more input if you are already set up as a utility," Heitz said.

The article does not mean Kingston is looking to start its own water company and connect homes to a municipal water system, Heitz said.

Permits for commercial wells and large groundwater withdrawals are approved by the state Department of Environmental Services.

Large groundwater withdrawals require a lengthy permit process. Before the state can even review an application, DES hydrogeologist Stephen Roy said the applicant needs to prove anyone who would be affected has received notification of the proposal.

Municipalities and residents who could be affected by any withdrawals also would be given the chance to request multiple public hearings.

Even if Kingston voters approve the article, the state still would have final approval over any proposals for large groundwater withdrawals.

"We may not have complete say, but at least we'll be a player at the table," said Norman Hurley, chairman of the Kingston Planning Board.

A similar article was put before voters three years ago and received majority support from voters, but failed to get the two-thirds approval.

In recent years, Heitz said, residents have become increasingly concerned about protecting their water.

"People are a little more educated on it," he said.
Curt Springer
Posts: 5713
Joined: Mon Jan 16, 2006 1:19 am
Location: 228 Sandown Road, North Danville

Re: Kingston water nonsense

Postby curt » Thu Feb 25, 2010 2:53 am

My comment appended to the online article:

Similar to Atkinson a couple of years ago, Kingston voters are now being told that if they vote for a warrant article, they will be able to protect their local water supplies.

But this time it is the selectmen who are promoting nonsense, not local citizens doing it by petition.

There is no need for local legislation for the selectmen to have a seat at the table in the state regulatory process.

RSA 485-C:21 governs the state regulation of large groundwater withdrawals:

It already has provisions for participation by the selectmen of a town. These were used by the Atkinson selectmen in the case of the Hampstead Area Water Company, and documented in articles in the Eagle Tribune.

Here is a link to Chapter 38, which the Kingston BOS cited in its letter in the 2/18/10 edition of the Carriage Towne News:

It gives the town the authority to build or buy a municipal water plant and run it as a utility, subject to the Public Utilities Commission. This is serious stuff and should not be undertaken in such a thoughtless manner as is proposed by the Kingston selectmen. The city of Nashua spent lots of time and money using this chapter to try to take over the private Pennichuck Water Company, thus far without success.

In any case, Chapter 38 does not give the town government any general regulatory authority over water in Kingston.
Curt Springer
Posts: 5713
Joined: Mon Jan 16, 2006 1:19 am
Location: 228 Sandown Road, North Danville

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