Wilton officials look for limits in the reservoir

  • Members of the Conservation Commission and Select Board are petitioning to restrict petroleum engines in the Sand Hill Reservoir. —STAFF PHOTO BY JOSH LACAILLADE

  • The Sand Hill Reservoir is used for swimming, fishing and other outdoor activities. —STAFF PHOTO BY JOSH LACAILLADE

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 8/15/2022 10:55:48 AM

Wilton officials are looking to restrict petroleum engines in the Sand Hill Reservoir.

The 22-acre reservoir, located on Sand Hill Road off Isaac Frye Highway, is not a state-restricted body of water, meaning petroleum engines such as motorboats and personal watercraft such as Jet Skis can be operated legally. The reservoir, which used for fishing, swimming and other outdoor activities, also allows electric engines.

However, Conservation Commission and Select Board members are looking to protect the town’s public reservoir from petroleum engines due to spacing issues and contamination concerns. According to Conservation Commission member Jennifer Beck, the petition to restrict petroleum engines is close to reaching its 25-signature requirement. 

Once the requirement is met, the Conservation Commission has the option of presenting the petition to state Commissioner of Safety Robert L. Quinn, which would require a public hearing in Concord. 

In September 2021 and again in July, Milford-based laboratory ChemServe conducted two water-purity tests on the reservoir to address contamination concerns. The analysts found the reservoir had trace amounts of E. coli, but otherwise there was no outstanding data to disprove the reservoir’s clean-water quality. 

Select Board member Matt Fish said it’s urgent to pass the petition to restrict petroleum engines in order to prevent future contamination.

“[We are] being proactive. It’s such a unique and high-quality resource,” said Fish.

Select Board Chair Kermit Williams said he’s also in favor of the petition to put a stop to petroleum engines in the reservoir.

“We don’t want gas-powered boats to be put into the reservoir. It’s not big enough for that to make sense,” said Williams.

Due to scheduling issues with the New Hampshire Department of Safety, Beck said she is unsure of when a public hearing would be held if the petition effort succeeds.

“I don’t know if we are going to have a hearing any time soon. This might happen  next year,” said Beck.


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