9/1/10 Salem Selectmen & DES meeting-

     Transfer of water is highly unlikely!

The Salem selectmen met with representatives of DES on Monday 8/16/2010 at 6PM.  The representatives from NH DES were asked to come to discuss how Salem could get out from being under the 1996 DES “ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER”.

The Salem selectmen met with representatives of DES on Monday 8/16/2010 at 6PM.  The representatives from NH DES were asked to come to discuss how Salem could get out from being under the 1996 DES “ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER”.  Public Utilities director, Rick Russell made a report of what Salem has done to detect leaks and the unsuccessful attempt to get voter approval on meter replacements. He went on to state that what would help is a direct transfer of water from Arlington to Canobie Lake.  The response from the DES experts was that this is highly unlikely.  They referred to the emergency transfer that was allowed in 2002 and said that that can’t be done again.  Furthermore, the new administrative rules on water transfer will be finalized within the next year.  Then there will be a permitting process where Salem would have to apply for permission to transfer water.  At this time the Salem does not even meet the prerequisites of that permitting due to the lack of accurate water meters.

 DES Hydrologist, Brandon Kernen, went on to explain that Salem continues to grow while not doing much to conserve and manage their water resource.  He explained that it is critical that Salem have proper meters and a water rate structure.  He went on to say that if Salem did not make progress that they might be subject to a DES “MORATORIUM ON CONNECTIONS”.  This would halt all development in the town until the water management issues were resolved.

 The DES representatives informed everyone that the Army Corps of Engineers are completing a computer model of the Spicket River Watershed.  This will be available to create scenarios of best use policies.  Paul Susca, of DES, recommended that Salem designate an advisory group to use this model to develop various recommended water management policies which would optimize use of the water supply.

 Brandon Kernen went on to suggest that Salem improve their water treatment plant so that it would be able to more easily switch back and forth between water from Arlington and water from Canobie.  This would allow Salem to take water from either source when any extra water may be available.

 In summary, Salem needs to do 3 things;

1)      Replace the water meters to conserve and administer a water rate schedule

2)  Improve the water treatment plant so as to be able to switch back and forth between Arlington and Canobie Lake.

3)  Optimize use of the Spicket River watershed