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Executive Council approves $5m loan for municipal water for Amherst homes

State House Bureau

September 27. 2017 8:22PM

MERRIMACK — The Executive Council on Wednesday approved a $5 million loan agreement designed to extend municipal water to 100 homes in Amherst to address contamination by perfluorinated chemicals, but state environmental officials said the actual price tag more likely will come in at $2.8 million.

The Legislature approved the $5 million emergency loan from the state’s Drinking Water and Groundwater Trust Fund but the loan contract had to be approved by the council.

The low-interest loan would be repaid by Textiles Coated International, the manufacturer of glass fiber fabrics and polymer films believed to be the source of the contamination. The company moved from Amherst to Manchester in 2005.

The money comes from a trust fund created by the proceeds of a $236 million verdict against Exxon Mobil for groundwater contamination caused by the gasoline additive MtBE.

Councilor Russell Prescott, R-Kingston, questioned the average cost of $28,000 per house for the hookups.

Clark Freise, assistant commissioner of the Department of Environmental Services, said the cost of cleaning up, maintaining and monitoring private wells for years to come would be even higher.

“When you add it all up, a public water extension is not that exorbitant, as long as the distance between homes is not that high,” he said.

General honored

The council also honored Maj. Gen. William Reddel III, who is resigning as adjutant general of the N.H. National Guard as of Sept. 30, returning to civilian employment.

Councilors led the chamber in a standing ovation for the officer who’s led more than 3,000 men and women in the state’s National Guard for the past eight years.

“What he has done with the Guard has been tremendous, bringing us forward with everything from cyber security to readiness and preparedness of the Guard, instilling confidence and really giving the Guard a morale boost,” said Gov. Chris Sununu after the council meeting, which was held in the Merrimack Town Hall.

The council also approved the appointment of Christine Brennan of Bedford, currently principal of the Beech Street School in Manchester, as deputy commissioner in the Department of Education, replacing Paul K. Leather of Concord.

Sununu’s choices to replace two longtime labor leaders on the Workers Compensation Appeals Board were approved unanimously, even though Democratic councilors Andru Volinsky and Chris Pappas had previously expressed disappointment over Sununu’s refusal to reappoint longtime labor representatives Mark MacKenzie and Denis Parker to the board.

Pappas and Volinsky on Wednesday said they were still disappointed by Sununu’s decision but agreed to support the nominations of Steven Soule of Manchester, assistant business manager of IBEW Local 2320, and Timothy King, a sergeant in the patrol division for Concord police, to serve as labor representatives on the board.

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