$22.3m approved for MTBE assessment plan
The Executive Council Wednesday approved the use of $22.3 million of the $81.6 million settlement fund to establishing and implementing the plan.
The chemical has polluted private and water supply wells throughout the state and will cost an estimated $800 million to address, according to Deputy Attorney General Ann Rice.
That case is currently under appeal, Rice said. The oil company wants that money put into a trust fund for remediation, but the state is currently fighting that in court, she said.
Rice said the $22.3 million request is only for this biennium.
"We have worked closely with DES on setting priority sites," she said, "and evaluating the scope of the problem."
He noted while the additive was only required in four southern counties, gasoline with MTBE in it was sold throughout the state.
If an individual well has been contaminated, an onsite cleaning system can address the problem, state officials said, or if the contaminant has impacted a larger area, water systems may need to be extended or small systems established.
The remediation project is expected to last six years.
The council also voted to accept a federal grant of $2.3 million to improve health insurance rate reviews, improve data collections on claims and improve access to service costs charged by providers. The grant is part of the Affordable Care Act.
Last I-93 contract
The council approved a $32.2 million contract with Weaver Brothers Construction Co.,Inc. of Bow to rehabilitate and widen I-93 in the exit 3 area as part of the expansion project from Salem to Manchester.
He said without additional money, work on the expansion will come to an end in October 2016 with the widening complete from Salem to Exit 3 and around Exit 5.