On Tuesday, March 11, residents of Exeter, NH, will have an important opportunity to vote “YES” for clean water. Voting on Article 6, residents will be asked to approve a $5 million bond to begin engineering design of a new sewage treatment plant. Exeter’s current sewage treatment plant is grossly outdated. The much-needed new plant, to become operational in the summer of 2018, will greatly reduce nitrogen pollution before discharging into the Squamscott River. Passage of the bond is absolutely necessary in order to move construction forward and minimize delay in bringing relief to the Squamscott and, downstream, Great Bay. The Board of Selectmen has voted unanimously to support the article. A 60% affirmative vote is necessary to pass the bond.
Last year, in nearby Newmarket, residents voted overwhelmingly to approve bonding of a $16 million upgrade to its existing, outdated sewage treatment plant. That facility discharges into the Lamprey River, not far upstream from Great Bay. Newmarket’s new plant, like Exeter’s, will greatly reduce nitrogen pollution. It’s expected to be on-line by the spring of 2017. These developments are good news for Great Bay and the Piscataqua River.
If you live in Exeter, we hope you’ll vote “Yes” for clean water by voting “Yes” on Article 6. If you don’t live in Exeter but know someone who does, please email this blog to them and urge them to support a healthy Squamscott River, and a healthy Great Bay, with a “Yes” vote on Article 6. Another article worth supporting on the Exeter warrant is Article 8, authorizing removal of the Great Dam. Removing this dam, which creates an artificial barrier between the tidal Squamscott River and the Exeter River, will restore this wonderful river to its natural condition, reducing flooding and facilitating the spawning migration of alewives, whose population has been drastically reduced.