Bristol in line to receive stimulus funds for drinking water

May 01, 2009
BRISTOL — Town Manager Paul Weston announced last week that the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services has informed him that Bristol is in line to receive American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) stimulus funding for a $1.1 million project to upgrade the Town's drinking water system. The Town has previously received notice that ARRA funding will be available to replace the Borough Street Bridge between Bristol and the Town of Hill.

On the advice of project engineers and sewer and water department officials the select board voted to approve plans to move forward with the project that includes upgrade of an existing storm center well and the addition of a booster pump station to improve system capacity. Also as part of the project, an old abandoned storage tank will be removed. A new storage tank would be part of a future project.

Bristol will receive a 50 percent loan principle forgiveness and interest forgiveness on a 20-year bond to fund the work, with matching funds from the Town to come from existing capital reserves over the life of the bond. Public hearings and a special Town Meeting will be scheduled before construction could begin, presumably sometime this summer. Bristol has also applied for ARRA funds for an extension of the existing sewer to the southern end of Newfound Lake, as well as several other ongoing projects.

At its regular meeting last Thursday, the board also heard a thorough update on developments on the County level from Grafton County Commissioner Martha Richards. Richards updated board members on the revised proposal for constructing a new correctional facility on the grounds of the North Haverhill County campus to replace the aging Grafton County Jail. She had high praise for Superintendent Glenn Libby and highlighted a very successful G.E.D. program that has been implemented at the jail, as well as the newly established Drug Court program. She said the proposal for the new facility has been substantially scaled back in light of concerns that have been received from many towns experiencing financial difficulties in these trying economic times. She also heard a unqualified vote of support for continued operations at the County Farm from board member Rick Alpers. She said that Farm is suffering from a drop in the price of milk and operated at a loss of about $80,000 last year, but that the farm stand, run by inmates from the County Jail, actually had income of about $40,000 last summer.

Richards said the County has recently been informed that we will not be receiving ARRA funds for the installation of a wood chip biomass plant for heating on the campus, but will possibly go ahead with the plan which is expected to enhance energy efficiency and save money in the long run. She noted that the budget process is currently underway and invited board members to visit the County facilities or attend Commissioners Meetings.

Newfound Lake Region Association (NLRA) Executive Director Boyd Smith updated the board on progress with the Newfound Watershed Master Plan. Over the course of the last few weeks Smith has visited planning board and select board meetings in all the Newfound watershed towns including Alexandria, Bridgewater, Hebron, Groton and Bristol to solicit comments and input on the draft report scheduled to be presented at a special meeting in June. The final report is to be complete and presented at a public workshop in September following public comment period in July and August. The draft plan can be found on the NLRA website at

The report is the culmination of 30 months and $350,000 worth of work designed to come up with a plan to protect water quality within the 63,000 acres watershed. It contains a large amount of information on demographics, growth trends, water quality data and the results of an extensive public opinion survey conducted under the auspices of the Plymouth State University. One major finding is that an analysis of the Master Plans and public comments of citizens in the watershed indicate that protecting, water quality and the rural character of our communities is a high priority for people in local towns. However, analysis of the zoning and other regulations reveals large gaps in the towns abilities to protect this community vision.

Smith said that a coordinated efforts are needed to protect the natural resources that are critical to the regions economy and quality of life. He urged interested members of the public to get involved by reading the draft and providing feedback on priorities recommendations.

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