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October 23. 2013 10:09PM

Water overlay district approved

NASHUA — A city property owner is outraged about a newly approved overlay district that will prohibit groundwater from being used on his undeveloped parcel and an estimated 160 other contaminated properties in Nashua.

The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services recently asked city officials to combine two existing groundwater management zones while also expanding the area along the edge of the Nashua River.

Although the Four Hills Landfill and the Gilson Road hazardous waste site already have in place separate groundwater management zones, the creation of one large overlay district consisting of about 160 properties may be easier to maintain, according to city officials.

“Putting these new restraints on our property is going to be a huge financial burden,” Daniel McCoy told aldermen before the vote on Tuesday. McCoy, whose family owns undeveloped land nearby on Skyline Drive, claims the overlay district will create an unnecessary stigma on the property.

“Why should we take the burden of the landfill that is owned by the city?” he asked, noting groundwater will not be able to be pumped from the site and could be a problem during future construction. “… I am not even sure it is contaminated.”The Groundwater Management and Release Detection Permit from DES requires that the city create a groundwater management zone for the Four Hills Landfill, and that the zone be recorded in the registry of deeds for each property within the zone.

As an alternative form of notice, the law allows for the establishment of an overlay district, which was recommended for Nashua since the two zones — the landfill and the Gilson Road site — are significant in size and include numerous properties.

“They have asked us to do this quite a while now,” said Mayor Donnalee Lozeau. “… This is not an optional item for us.”

Still, McCoy said his property — along with many others — will lose value because of the groundwater restrictions.

“The city, in my opinion, is responsible for part of this,” said Alderman-at-Large Barbara Pressly. “… Some of the contamination is caused by the landfill.”

Another alderman, David Deane, said before the vote that questions from McCoy and other concerned residents should be answered before the overlay district is approved.

Mayor Donnalee Lozeau agreed, but stressed the state is requiring the city to either form the overlay district or mandate property deed adjustments.

According to Andrew Hoffman of DES, the contaminants are steady or declining, however the groundwater still does not meet state drinking standards and cannot be used. He explained previously that all of the properties within the two zones use municipal water, not private well water.

The Gilson Road site is a 25-acre plot where liquid waste was illegally dumped in the 1960s and 1970s, prompting the groundwater to be treated for about a decade once it was deemed a federal Superfund site in the early 1980s.

A 60-acre portion of the Four Hills Landfill that is no longer active and was capped in 2003 is the second area included in the new overlay district that was adopted by the Board of Aldermen on Tuesday.Contaminants of various metals including arsenic and nickel are still evident along the boundary of the closed portion of the landfill, according to officials.khoughton@newstote.com


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