By Paul Conyers
The Conservation Commission met on Oct. 24 to discuss two applications from Pennichuck East Utility around 36 Pillsbury Road. Pennichuck Construction Services Manager, Mark Filon, was at the meeting to give a presentation with Trevor Yandow of Manchester’s Meridian Land Services for a dredge and fill permit with new information on the transmission water line running from the Pillsbury property.
“This transmission main connects a proposed water tank on Gordon Drive crossings Pillsbury Road and into the Woodmont Development off Micheals Way,” Yandow explained. “We’ve gone through the process of planning and found the land makes drilling an impractical solution.”
Fillion and Yandow got a conditional use permit for the Gordon Drive tank last December, including a plan for the proposed water line. However, laying pipe will require traditional trenching, creating a larger-than-expected impact on the surrounding environment.
Despite the proposed dredge and fill, Yandow promised to restore the site “to existing conditions” after the project, adding that Pennichuck was “trying to avoid and minimize as much impact to the wetlands as we can.”
The Commission had a few questions regarding the plan.
“How much of that is temporary impact?” asked Commission member, Deborah Lievens. Yandow confirmed that any harm to the environment will be temporary. The water company plans to restore all surrounding wetlands to their original condition after completing the pipe.
There was some debate over moving some of the construction farther away from the wetlands, but Yandow disagreed, saying that such a large change in the plan that has been in place for a year. He noted that Pennichuck’s existing use permit does not allow the water company to move forward with a project that might have any lasting impact on the wetlands.
Most of the members agreed that trying to avoid temporary environmental impact wasn’t worth it. Alternate member, Mike Speltz, added several comments to the permit, noting that avoiding wetlands would be possible, but impractical and unnecessary.
Speltz wanted to know why Pennichuck was going with a seemingly strange design for the water pipe.
“If I’m reading this right, the line takes an almost ninety-degree turn, it’s not a problem to put that kind of sharp bend in the line?” asked Speltz.
The design will leave room in the ground for a future sewer pump station. The station and a larger expansion to the water system are currently in the planning stage.
“We want to keep this water line as out of the way as possible,” said Yandow. Pennichuck wants to maximize land use moving forward as the company expects several new projects in the coming years to expand the water system.
The Conservation Commission unanimously recommended a modified conditional use and dredge and fill permit.