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Cold Stone Springs wells to be considered for Peterborough town water source

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 7/3/2018 12:15:33 PM

Peterborough is considering purchasing land in Sharon and Jaffrey to access an additional water source for the town.

Town officials were approached about 18 months ago to discuss the purchase of land, which already has three wells drilled on it approved for water extraction, Peterborough Town Administrator Rodney Bartlett said. The land is owned by Cold Stone Springs LLC.

Additional water sources for Peterborough’s water system has been an ongoing issue for several decades, Bartlett said. The town has sought an additional well site since the 1980s, when the south well was contaminated by cleaning agents from New Hampshire Ball Bearings.

The town tried once to drill a replacement well on Hunt Road in the 1990s, but the water had levels too high in naturally occurring iron and manganese to be viable for drinking water.

The town has three other wells that it uses cyclically to supply the 400,000 gallon a day demand for town water.

“The three wells support that easily,” Bartlett said, of the town’s current water supply.

However, the town still wants an alternative water source, particularly one located on a separate aquifer, Bartlett said. The Cold Stone Springs site could be an answer, if the town can successfully negotiate a price.

The three wells on the Cold Stone Springs property have already been permitted by the state Department of Environmental Services for large-scale water drawing, up to 288,000 gallons per day for each well, or a cap of 577,000 gallons per day for all three.

“The amount of discharge allowed is more than what our total demand is right now,” Bartlett said.

The wells would supplement water provided by the other town wells so the town wouldn’t be using the entirety of the allowed gallons per day, if they do purchase the property, he said.

The water has been tested three times, as recently as 2016, and will make suitable drinking water, Bartlett said.

While the property has wells drilled, there is no other infrastructure to pump the water or treat it and additional pipes would have to be put in to connect the water to Route 202 and get it flowing into the water system, he said.

The town expected to receive an asking price for the property and an engineering estimate for the cost of building water processing infrastructure on Friday, but Bartlett declined to disclose either cost while the land was still in negotiation.

If the deal is amenable to the town, Peterborough will apply for grants to purchase the property and build the infrastructure needed to get the water into the town’s system.

DES has a trust fund available for projects that conserve or enhance drinking water and groundwater resources of the state. But town officials may also approach voters as soon the 2019 Town Meeting to fund the project, Bartlett said.

Peterborough has also approached the town of Jaffrey to discuss whether they would like to partner in some capacity in the usage of the water from the area, though the specifics of such a partnership have only been vaguely discussed, Jaffrey Town Manager Jon Frederick said. 

“We’ve been looking for an alternative well supply for quite some time in Jaffrey,” Frederick said. “Long before my time.”

While Jaffrey town engineer Doug Starr said the town’s four wells are currently adequate to serve the 1,500 customers in Jaffrey and Rindge that use town water, it’s prudent to keep an eye open for future opportunities.

“It just makes good sense for the town. If there’s an opportunity for an additional water source, we’d always take a keen interest in looking at that, because you have to think about 10, 15, 20, 25 years down the road,” Starr said. “Water sources in this region are only going to become more of a premium.”

Frederick said Jaffrey town officials expects water demands to increase in the next several years, as MilliporeSigma expands and increases their water usage by as much as 70,000 gallons per day. Considering the total usage of the Jaffrey water system today is about 360,000 gallons per day, that’s a significant percentage, Frederick said.

Bartlett said that the select board could begin to discuss an offer from Cold Stone Springs as soon as their first meeting in August.

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 244 or She’s on Twitter @AshleySaariMLT.


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