The Utilities Committee came together for its December meeting to discuss an update to their water subcommittee, which was tasked with coming up with a plan to keep Londonderry residents informed on some of the many water-related issues that have come up over the past few years.
“We did come up with an outline on what we want to do informing the town,” said Utilities Secretary, John Ferreira. “We’ve got people in this town with different levels of knowledge, we’ve got to get those people to the same level.”
One proposal was to set up a roundtable discussion with Town Manage, Mike Malaguti, on local television sometime before the March election. The hope is to educate voters on the importance of several proposed warrant articles related to expanding the Londonderry water system in the upcoming budget.
“Mike’s working with DES [New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services] to have them come in to do a presentation on television, probably at the high school cafeteria on a Saturday morning,” added Chairman, Lynn Wiles. “It’s just giving an overview of how DES sees the whole water situation.”
DES was involved in the Saint-Gobain lawsuit, and state officials are responsible for enforcing the consent decree against the plastics company.
The two relevant budget articles related to utilities include a $2 million upgrade to the High Range Road Water vein and $100,000 to establish a capital reserve fund to maintain a stormwater comprehensive management plan.
The Solid Waste subcommittee had its Household Hazardous Waste Day, an event the town cohosted with neighboring Derry and one the Utilities Chair called a “very successful day” based on feedback.
Londonderry Environmental Engineer, Bob Kerry, reported they had “422 cars” representing “433 different households.”
“That’s a significant amount of people who were able to get rid of their stuff without dumping it in their backyard,” said Wiles. “If you don’t pick this stuff up, it just goes right into the water supply.”
There were no statistics on the amount of waste collected at the event, which happens every May and November.
Committee members were looking into finding new ways to spread awareness of proper recycling techniques.
“A lot of people don’t get it, they think ‘the pizza box, throw it in the recycling,’ but it’s got all the pizza grease,” said Vice-Chair, Martha Smith.
They noted that many items like plastic bags can damage machinery at recycling facilities. Food waste was singled out as a major contributor.
“One of the things we might think to do is to encourage people for compositing programs, there are some within the state,” said Committee member, Anne Fenn.
In his annual report to the town, Wiles was optimistic about the work the Utilities Committee has done throughout 2023, saying they had “done some good work” while predicting that 2024 “would be a great year.”
The Utilities Committee is set to meet on the first Tuesday of every month at 7 p.m. on the first floor of the Moose Hill Council Chambers.