To The Daily Sun,
As promised in a recent letter, I am addressing how New Hampshire has benefited from EPA actions.
Although it was passed into law before the EPA was proposed, the Clean Water Act of 1965 had a great effect in New Hampshire. When I arrived in New Hampshire in 1969 I was surprised by how compromised the rivers were. A year or so later, the EPA took steps to effect some changes. The Winnipesauke River Basin Study revealed how much and what kinds of pollutants were being discharged into the river.
Topping the list was sewage, lots of it! There were other problems such as asbestos, leather effluents and battery plants acids and lead. Those items were deposited due to runoff and improper storage of wastes.
The solution to the sewage problem was a cooperative effort; money and technical expertise form the federal level and communities working together to produce a brand new system. The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services helped map out a collection and delivery system for the sewage. While that was being done, the last component was being constructed in Franklin. They designed a state-of-the-art plant to process the effluents. The plant came on line in the late 1970s and was designed so that it could be expanded and up-graded as needed in the future. It has been on line for about 40 years and is working fine to this day.
For those of you who have never visited it, I can certify that it is one of the best plants in the state. The delivery system is showing signs of deterioration after several decades of service, but remains functional but in need of service.
Many of the other pollutants and contaminants, both water and airborne, came under EPA's scrutiny shortly after it became an agency in 1970. Airborne carbon particulates originating in the coal-fired plants in the Midwest and carried by winds to the east were tracked by the EPA. As a response to that research, the EPA put together emission standards for carbon particulates and acid rain. Those plants affected didn't like it much, but the mess got cleaned up and our air recovered nicely. It took a little longer for our evergreen trees to recover from the acid rain.
Asbestos was target of the EPA as well. Johns Manville, a producer of insulation materials, was cited for manufacturing several products containing dangerous levels of asbestos fibers. Evidence proved that short-fiber asbestos caused a cancer hazard in many of their insulation products. As a result, Johns Manville which had a plant in Tilton, closed its doors and declared bankruptcy. We are still dealing with the mitigation of that problem.
The EPA spearheaded the efforts to make sure our drinking water was safe. Many communities depending on open reservoirs had to shift to wells or develop a process of chlorination that met EPA bacteria protocols. In addition, the water pH had to be adjusted to prevent too much lead being leached from certain piping found in older construction.
New Hampshire had EPA help with mitigation of at least three Superfund sites. Grace Chemical was cited and cleanup effected in both Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Closer to home, the Surrett Battery site in Northfield and the Turchin Salvage site in Tilton were reclaimed with Superfund financing.
I have actually just scratched the surface of how our state has benefited from having the EPA partnering with our Departmental of Environmental Services. I suggest, if you are interested, that you go online and do some research. Contact the University of New Hampshire to get additional information about our environment. Find out how we in New Hampshire are cooperating with other states in the region to clean up our atmosphere. Find out what the (REGGI) is all about. Get to know the EPA in Region 1.
It's not just about regulation, it is about a common-sense approaches to problems.
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