The Great Bay Estuary, the "jewel of the New Hampshire seacoast," is located in one of the state’s fastest-growing regions. Some municipal wastewater treatment plants in the region discharge treated wastewater into streams that empty into this ecologically sensitive Great Bay Estuary.
Project Overview – Evaluating wastewater management alternatives.
Background – Historical summary.
Related Legislation – Enabling and supporting legislation for the study.
Communities – List and Map of the 44 Communities involved in the study.
Project Documents – Draft Alternatives Report.
For more information, please contact:
NHDES Wastewater Engineering Bureau
29 Hazen Drive; PO Box 95
Concord, NH 03302-0095
(603) 271-4128 (fax)
Representatives from some of the 44 communities that surround the estuary along with area stakeholders formed the Great Bay Estuary Commission to undertake a wastewater management project to:
In August, NH Department of Environmental Services retained engineering firm Metcalf & Eddy, Inc. to conduct an 18-month study to help the study commission, chaired by NH Senator Russell Prescott, determine how to dispose of the treated wastewater, as well as handle, treat, and dispose of the growing volume of septage in the study area.
Evaluating wastewater management alternatives
Possible alternatives include:
For the above three options, non-sewered communities with a need for a wastewater treatment facility would build a collection system and connect to one of the existing wastewater plants. Septage and receiving treatment will be considered if the septage capacity is over one million gallons per day.
Finding a solution is a challenging project because of the number of communities involved, each with their own wastewater management issues. Thirty-one communities in the region currently have no collection or treatment and face growing septage disposal concerns. The study will also address these concerns.
For the Great Bay Estuary Commission, the NHDES and other area stakeholders, this study is an important step in restoring and protecting the natural beauty of the Great Bay Estuary and Seacoast region – assets that fuel the region’s thriving tourist economy.
The Strafford Regional Planning Commission (SRPC) issued a Regional Master Plan to address policies and strategies on regional treated effluent discharge. The two major initiatives recommended in the plan were a feasibility study for a regional treated effluent discharge system and implementation of sustainable/smart-growth planning and management principles. To initiate the planning process and begin identifying issues to be addressed in the feasibility study, the SRPC interviewed approximately 30 experts, including municipal and government officials and consultants with expertise in areas such as wastewater treatment and disposal, planning, engineering, environmental protection, legal and regulatory compliance, and finance. The plan urged that the feasibility study begin now, be overseen by a study commission, and encourage public input.
Enacted in 2003, Senate Bill 70 created the Great Bay Estuary Commission to work with the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) to study the feasibility of options for addressing wastewater treatment and disposal, restoring the estuary habitat, and creating a watershed district. In 2004, Senate Bill 481 was enacted that established the Estuary Alliance for Sewage Treatment (EAST), which municipalities in the Great Bay estuary and surrounding region may opt to join in order to share public wastewater collection, treatment, and discharge systems.
In August of 2004, engineering firm Metcalf & Eddy was selected to conduct an 18-month study to assist the Great Bay Estuary Commission in weighing feasible alternatives to meet the region's wastewater and septage management needs and to report their findings to the communities and stakeholders for consideration.
Senate Bill 481
House Bill 1403
House Bill 199
Study Area Map (769K)
The study area includes 44 communities in the Seacoast region listed below.
All documents have been saved in Adobe Acrobat Reader format.
Draft Alternatives Report – Subtask 4.5
Alternatives Report Sections:
Section 1 – Executive Summary
Alternatives Report Appendices:
Appendix A – Alternatives Development Methodology
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