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Selectmen 'unwavering' in request for 100 percent coal tar removal

April 28, 2010
GEI Consultants Inc. recently conducted their latest groundwater chemical testing for the National Grid on the lower Liberty Hill Road site in Gilford and found that while some results are similar, certain concentrations have increased.

In a letter to the Board of Selectmen, Chuck Spalding, senior hydrologist of McDonald Morrissey Associates, said the Napthalene concentrations have increased from 238 ug to 912 ug within the last two years in the monitoring well located 40 feet from Jewett Brook. Napthalene is a toxic carcinogenic hydrocarbon derived from coal tar or petroleum.

"McDonald and Morrissey Associates has repeatedly requested that GEI install another monitoring well (in this particular site) to further delineate the limits of contamination from the Liberty Hill site," said Spalding. "Although contaminants could be discharging directly to Jewett Brook, it is also possible that contaminants could be traveling parallel to the brook, along higher permeability materials."

After reading the letter at the selectmen meeting last Wednesday, Chairman Kevin Hayes read a letter the town administration and selectmen have drafted and plan to send in response to the latest water testing.

"We are concerned that the three-fold increase (of Napthalene concentrations) is being falsely characterized and downplayed," read Hayes.

The letter addressed the selectmen's continuous concerns over the lower Liberty Hill site, and their efforts to ensure that 100 percent of contaminations in the site are removed, rather than the smaller percentage of removal that has been recommended by National Grid.

In the letter, Hayes said the selectmen are particularly concerned over the location of these groundwater results, since they are near Jewett Brook, which can lead to larger sources of water.

"The Gilford Selectmen are unwavering in their request for 100 percent removal," said Hayes, who described this process and the results as "a nightmare" that needs to be corrected. "We want an environment clean of pollutants, and safe water for our residents. We want all contaminants removed as soon as possible."

The selectmen have asked that all documents and GEI data be included in response to the test, and also requested that an additional groundwater well be installed in the higher concentrated site area, holding the NH Department of Environmental Services responsible for whatever results or procedures may follow.

Garnett Hill
Martin Lord Osman
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