September 8, 2022 (CONCORD, NH) – The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has intervened in a lawsuit filed by Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) against the New Hampshire Fish & Game Department for Clean Water Act violations at the state’s Powder Mill Fish Hatchery. Like CLF’s lawsuit, the EPA alleges that the facility is violating the Clean Water Act and degrading the health of the Merrymeeting River.
With its intervention, the EPA also filed a consent decree entered into by EPA, CLF, and the Fish & Game Department to settle the pending Clean Water Act lawsuit.
“Significant pollution has plagued the Merrymeeting River and threatened Lake Winnipesaukee for many years,” said Tom Irwin, CLF Vice President for New Hampshire. “The EPA clearly saw the importance of this case and chose to intervene to protect the health of these waters. While there is still some process remaining, we’re on a path to resolving this case and ending this harmful pollution.”
If approved by the court, the consent decree will require New Hampshire Fish and Game to construct a wastewater treatment facility that dramatically reduces phosphorus pollution, to implement interim measures to reduce pollution before the wastewater treatment facility is built, and to assess and potentially address the impacts of sediments that have built up in the river over the years.
Powder Mill is New Hampshire’s largest hatchery, and it discharges wastewater into the Merrymeeting River, which flows downstream into Lake Winnipesaukee’s Alton Bay. The hatchery raises fish to be stocked in other New Hampshire waters to support recreational fishing. In the process, it discharges significant phosphorus pollution from fish and food waste, causing dangerous algae blooms and other water quality problems.
CLF experts are available for further comment.