Big Game tonight on TV!!

The Selectmen tonight will discuss the private sewer connections in the Jady Hill Ave neighborhood after the budget discussion concludes. Any discussion about water & sewer trumps football in my book. Channel 22, or brave the cold and  go down there. My box is working fine.


It all rolls downhill!

“It’s your sump pumps!”
Lets start off with some factual elements and I will try my best to keep to the facts.

First off, a statement from DPW regarding their CSO System.

The wastewater system experiences overflows during heavy rainstorms. It has been determined that during significant rainfall events, stormwater enters the sewer system causing overflows to occur; this is known as a Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO). The wastewater collection system wasn’t designed to handle large amounts of water received during heavy rain events. A CSO diversion system was put in place to direct these high stormwater flows to Clemson’s Holding Pond. The pond discharges through a permitted outfall and tidegates to the Squamscott River.

Ok? We got a system in place, that’s what I read.

These are the numbers from the Town website, there was a million gallon event too last year or the year prior that is not on the list, I am not sure. That was not classified as a CSO, lucky us.

Notice of Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO):

  • November 9, 2006 – 36,000 gallons 1.49″ rain
  • November 15, 2006 – 103,000 gallons 1.46″ rain
  • March 2, 2007 – 39,000 gallons 1.97″ rain
  • April 16-20, 2007 – 18,497,000 gallons 5″ rain
  • February 13, 2008 – 52,000 gallons 2″ rain and associated snowmelt

I am sorry but all these facts are necessary to the tale.

My Aunt lives at the Mill and I visit her often, her place looks right out at the Powder house and the base of Jady Hill. Today the DPW was there working on a manhole. My Aunt and I know all about the manhole, probably anyone does that frequents the area. This man hole is like Old Faithful during a rainy period. I always assumed it was storm water geysering out, nope, its sewage.

What we have been witnessing is our “CSO System” doing it’s thing. Allowing raw sewage to cascade down the embankment into Clemson Pond. The “CSO System” got an upgrade today, they sealed it shut with a strap. This may cause more issues but maybe it will keep raw sewage out of the River. How many years has this been going on?

Anyone that follows the adventures of Water & Sewer has to be appalled at this “System” It is a fix to run out and strap the cover after responding to inquiries from Federal Agencies, State Agencies, Newspapers, citizens, that we have a “system?”

Below is the sluice way of the “CSO System”

Then the crap floats majestically past Old Glory on it’s way to the Squamscott via the tide gates and on to Great Bay. Hey? How were the smelts this year guys?

This last shot is looking up Jady Hill Ave from the “CSO System” It’s a hill and down that hill comes all the “stuff” from Jady Hill and Portsmouth Ave, all of it. That’s the problem it comes down that hill slams into the 90 degree left turn which in high flow triggers the “CSO System” and the manhole cover blows off, allowing it to flow freely to the Pond, for days. In high flow it cannot make that turn on its way across the Squamscott (in a pipe, that I hope is not cracked) to the Swasey Parkway Station then on to the sewer lagoons at the DPW yard. I think it may just start backing up Jady Hill.

I can keep going but even I am getting sick now. Perhaps some visual aids of what size tanks those “CSO System ” discharges would fill. Now this is the non fact base stuff, as I am using Town numbers. There is no meter that will fit on “Old Faithful” so how can they be reporting specific numbers. It might be lower, it could be higher. I think someone has been guessing. That is not good practice when meeting with regulators.

I called some people before I sat down to give them the heads up on this post. Major players in this tale had no clue.

Each of the above is a 50,000 gallon tank, the million gallon spill would be twenty of these tanks. That is a massive plume of raw sewage. The terminus of the Squamscott in Great Bay, that end, is the least tide affected. There is no “tide flushing” that anyone can make a case for to mollify me.

These are twin 20,000 gallon tanks. We have had several “CSO System” discharges of this size

Questions that I would like answered this week.

Who authorized the disabling of the “CSO System?”

Why has this been allowed to continue, by my estimation for 8 years maybe longer.

Why has the focus been on the water treatment plant and new water tank?

That last question is of course easy. Develop first as much as you can, then and only then deal with the waste. Today in the paper the Planning Board candidates in Stratham are interviewed. They are all asked about their Gateway Project. Several opine about the need for sewage treatment. Does anyone think Exeter is in a position to process waste water for Stratham? I have more but this is really too much for me. Two of our candidates for Selectmen stood tall for the Town employees at the Candidates Forum. They spoke about the high regard for our employees throughout the State. It is a terrible shame that Management right down the line put the rank and file in the position of welding covers shut as a fix. How many Camp Dresser representatives were privy to the “CSO System”

In closing an article from the Exeter Newsletter:

Combined sewer overflow
February 19, 2008

EXETER — On Feb. 13, due to two inches of rainfall and associated melted snow, the capacity of the sewer collection system, which is capped at 52,000 gallons of sewer and storm water, overflowed.

This overflow was then discharged into Clemson Pond.

During heavy rains, storm water can enter the municipal sewer system which can cause the system to surcharge and overflow. This is known as a combined sewer overflow (CSO). The waste water collection system wasn’t designed to handle large amounts of water received during heavy rain events.

A CSO diversion system was put in place to direct these high storm water flows to Clemson’s Holding Pond. The pond discharges through a permitted outfall and tide gates to the Squamscott River.

Permitted by who? Is that possibly some outfall that was permitted to the Mill? Does that permit include raw sewage?

There is a Water Sewer Advisory Board Meeting this week. It is my hope someone reading this, anyone reading this, shows up and asks questions. We got them on TV, let’s get some answers, on camera.