Construction of joint Peterborough/Jaffrey water facility over 50% complete

Crews work on the Cold Stone Springs water-treatment facility  on Chamberlain Road in Jaffrey.

Crews work on the Cold Stone Springs water-treatment facility on Chamberlain Road in Jaffrey. STAFF PHOTO BY ASHLEY SAARI

Work on the Cold Stone Springs water-treatment facility is underway on Chamberlain Road in Jaffrey.

Work on the Cold Stone Springs water-treatment facility is underway on Chamberlain Road in Jaffrey. STAFF PHOTO BY ASHLEY SAARI

The Cold Stone Springs water-treatement facility is underway on Chamberlain Road in Jaffrey.

The Cold Stone Springs water-treatement facility is underway on Chamberlain Road in Jaffrey. STAFF PHOTO BY ASHLEY SAARI—

The basement foundation of the future joint water-treatment facility owned by Peterborough and Jaffrey is installed in October.

The basement foundation of the future joint water-treatment facility owned by Peterborough and Jaffrey is installed in October. COURTESY PHOTO—

Construction of the walls of the joint water-treatment facility, when work began at the end of 2023.

Construction of the walls of the joint water-treatment facility, when work began at the end of 2023. COURTESY PHOTO

By ASHLEY SAARI

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

Published: 03-27-2024 11:14 AM

Modified: 04-04-2024 11:18 AM


Work is well underway on a water treatment plant that will be co-owned and operated by the towns of Jaffrey and Peterborough – a model that allows both towns to share the cost of both constructing the facility and its future operations.

With a total value of about $13.5 million, the project's costs are distributed between the two towns and supplemented by various external funding sources, including the Drinking Water and Ground Water Trust Fund, the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, a Community Development Block Grant and an annual contribution by Jaffrey manufacturer MilliporeSigma, which will benefit from the additional water resource.

Jaffrey and Peterborough officials report that construction on the new plant and associated infrastructure has passed the 50% completion mark, with the system expected to be online in both towns in 2025.

Need for a new source

A new source of water had been a priority for both towns prior to the purchasing of the site, known as Cold Stone Springs, on Chamberlain Street, which sits on the boundary of Jaffrey and Sharon.

Tony Cavaliere, Jaffrey’s superintendent of utilities, said that several years ago, Jaffrey conducted a study of the town’s water usage and future needs. While the town’s current three well sites – one of which has two wells on it – were enough to meet that need, Cavaliere said there was no backup if for any reason the town’s largest source well went offline due to contamination or mechanical failures.

“If we lost our biggest source, for whatever reason, during certain times of year, or a drought, we would be close to crossing that line of not having enough water. This is an additional source, so we’re good to go even if we lost that biggest source. It’s a matter of public health and safety,” Cavaliere said.

Currently, Jaffrey uses about 350,000 gallons of water per day. The three wells at the Cold Stone Springs site are estimated to add a potential extra 567,000 gallons per day from all three wells combined, which would be split 50/50 between the two towns.

Seth MacLean, Peterborough’s Department of Public Works director, said the project corrects supply deficiencies in both towns, as well as providing the option for future industry growth along the towns’ industrial and business corridors.

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“For Peterborough, in particular, the project offers access to an alternative aquifer, thereby mitigating reliance on its current wells drawing from a singular source. Consequently, the project not only ensures redundancy in the face of potential emergencies but also secures access to clean, safe water, crucial for future developmental endeavors,” MacLean said.

Cavaliere said while it’s not unusual for one town to have an agreement to purchase water or to serve users in another town, the type of agreement between Jaffrey and Peterborough, where they jointly own the facility, is rarer. And it comes with a potential extra redundancy.

“This well sire also allows for both towns to become interconnected in case of an emergency situation where one town is out of water,” Cavaliere said. “It is required by the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services that each town have an emergency plan for catastrophic loss of water, and this site allows both towns to be equipped to handle this type of emergency situation.”

Project reaches 50% completion mark

The treatment center itself has been under construction since last fall.

“The shell of the building is done – the walls and floors, the roof, the shingles,” said Cavaliere.

Also complete or near-complete is connecting the site to Peterborough and Jaffrey water systems. According to Cavaliere, the site has been connected to Jaffrey’s water system, and in Peterborough, the process is nearly complete.

The rest of this year will be spent completing the shell of the treatment facility, and installing the treatment systems. When completed, an agreement between the towns outlines the running of the facility, including an advisory committee which will monitor operations consisting of a Select Board member, two water operators or citizens and the town manager or administrator from each town. The committee will meet monthly.

All water treatment will be joint costs shared by the town, and the water will be treated to conform to state standards for drinking water. If one town wished to exceed the standard, and it was not mutually agreed upon by both communities, the financial responsibility for the additional treatment would rest only with that community. Should either town decide to no longer be a partner in the facility, it would forfeit all capital investment associated with the plant.

Ashley Saari can be reached at 603-924-7172, Ext. 244, or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on X @AshleySaariMLT.