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December 19. 2013 9:06PM

Gilford considers sewer system for Governor's Island

GILFORD — The selectmen have voted to ask for quotes from engineering firms for a study of the viability of installing a sewer system for Governor's Island, though it won't be done anytime soon.

The idea was suggested by Selectman Kevin Hayes at the board's meeting Wednesday night. Hayes expressed interest in updating sewer studies done in the 1970s and 1990s for the island, according to Town Administrator Scott Dunn.

Most town properties on the lake are served by town sewer systems or privately installed septic systems. But home septic systems have been causing problems on Lake Winnipesaukee in recent years, as some lake residents have old, outdated systems that fail.

Governor's Island, which has more than 100 residents on 500 acres, has never been connected to the town's sewage systems, which are part of the Winnipesaukee River Basin Program. The island is connected to Gilford by a small bridge.

Dunn said a major advantage of building a sewer system for the island, which is a bit more than a mile long, would be preservation of lake water quality.

"Everybody out there has a septic system," he said. "Septic systems can fail, and old systems have been known to fail, so it would help in the area of protection of the lakes."

Governor's Island residents, who are required when they buy homes on the island to join the Governor's Island Club, will be informed of the town's plans for a sewer study by mail, said member and resident Mike Brien.

Brien expressed concerns to the selectmen about the idea.

"This island is one big rock, I'm not sure how you'd build something like that here," Brien said.

Almost all of the homes on the island are upscale, "and members have spent a lot of money on septic systems over the years," he said. Also, many members may not like the idea of a mandatory hookup to the sewer system, which may come with the connection to the basin program sewer system, he said.

"I'm all for it if it's done right," Brien said, "but people have different ideas about what 'done right' means."

The town is putting out a request for quotes from engineers, with no timeframe established yet for how long the study would take, or for when it would be done.

It likely won't be done anytime soon, though, Dunn said.

"There's no money in the budget for it in next year's budget request," he said.

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