Congratulations and best wishes to Seabrook Water Department Foreman Herb Fowler, who is retiring after 42 years of service. Herb has been an integral part of the growth and development of the Seabrook Water Department. The Board of Selectmen traveled to the Water Department to honor Herb and recognize his service to Seabrook with the entire Water Department. Thank you Herb for your outstanding service to Seabrook.
The annual reports provided to the Board of Selectmen on the activity of the Water Department and the Sewer Department are attached below. These reports are compiled to examine the volumes in each department, as well as the overall financial impacts of each department on the overall municipal budget. In FY 2018 the overall level of taxpayer subsidy to both departments in combination was relatively stable, but increased in wastewater. The Board of Selectmen have adjusted water and sewer rates in FY 2019 in order to eliminate this taxpayer subsidy. Next years report should see the combined “subsidy” eliminated, or being very close to elimination. The taxpayer subsidy in 2018, on an operations only basis, was over $2 million.
The Seabrook Board of Selectmen have accepted the final report of the consultant hired to analyze, and recommend changes to, the water and sewer rates in Seabrook. That report is attached below.
Water and sewer rates in Seabrook have not been raised since 2012, with the result being, in 2017, an operational deficit in those two departments of over $2 million. What that translates to is a taxpayer “subsidy” to water and sewer ratepayers, in 2017, of over 8% of the total municipal budget. That number, as large as it is, does not account for water and sewer capital spending, only the budgeted operational expenses. Year to year studies of those departments has shown that the subsidy continues to grow, with stagnant revenues and increasing expenses. The water and sewer financial reports, issued to the Board of Selectmen annually, show this number consuming an ever larger portion of the municipal budget, squeezing other spending out, and restricting the ability of the Town to make necessary investments in water and sewer capital. (The 2017 reports for each department are attached)
The Seabrook Board of Selectmen have examined the attached consultants report and opted to close this operational deficit in water and sewer in FY2019. The new water and sewer rates, starting in January 2019, are attached below. As part of this study the Board also directed that the “service rates” for each department be studied, and they have created a new service fee schedule for each department, attached below.
The Board of Selectmen, as well as the Budget Committee, have directed management to recommend measures that will reduce pressure on the tax burden in Seabrook, and this is a major step in that direction. Every dollar raised in local revenues is one less dollar that needs to be raised through the property tax. This new rate schedule will raise an additional $2 million in local revenues in 2019, eliminating the subsidy from Seabrook’s taxpayers to the ratepayers, reducing that burden on the property tax.
Town seeks public assistance in reducing water use
Seabrook— The Town of Seabrook has implemented, on July 16th at its scheduled Board of Selectmen meeting, voluntary water restrictions for its water system. The Seabrook Board of Selectmen, acting in their capacity as the Water Commissioners for the Town of Seabrook, approved the request by Water Superintendent Curtis Slayton and Chief Operator George Eaton. Due to the recent dry conditions it has become necessary to ask residents to be mindful of how they use the water. Chief Operator George Eaton pointed out to the Seabrook Board that “our rainwater measurements are below that of 2016, the year of severe drought.” Chief Operator Eaton pointed out that the voluntary restrictions recommended are driven by the Seabrook Groundwater Management Plan, which offers safe parameters for the operation of Seabrook water wells. The Seabrook Board of Selectmen request that the public:
Repair any leaks inside or outside of the home.
Refrain from washing driveways and sidewalks
Cut back on irrigation times or irrigate every other day, or between 10:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m.
Reduce the frequency of the washing of cars
Check for and repair leaks in swimming pool systems
The Seabrook Board of Selectmen and the Seabrook Water Department are hopeful that more prudent use of water now will help to avoid mandatory restrictions at a later date and are appreciative of the support of the public.
The Town of Seabrook, after receiving a positive result on Friday July 13, 2018 from a single water sample indicating an E.coli contamination, has worked since that time with the New Hampshire DES to examine the Seabrook Water system, and ascertain whether the single test represented a wider problem with water quality in Seabrook. The Seabrook Water Department, represented by Superintendent Curtis Slayton and Chief Operator George Eaton, in close cooperation with DES, immediately began drawing new samples for testing. On Saturday morning, July 14, 2018, at 7:00 am, DES, with Chief Operator George Eaton, conducted a full sanitary inspection of the Seabrook Water System. Additional water sampling was also conducted and sent to a state certified lab. After the sanitary inspection was completed the N.H. DES representative indicated that there was “no apparent source of contamination” and found “no operational deficiencies” in the conduct of operations by the Seabrook Water Department. On Sunday July 15, 2018 extensive test results were returned to the Chief Operator George Eaton, as well as the New Hampshire DES. Those lab results show an absence of Total Coliform and E.coli bacteria. Since the initial positive result was not duplicated it appears that the initial finding was an anomaly. The residents of Seabrook can feel confident that the Seabrook Water Department continues to deliver high quality, clean water.
During this weekend the Seabrook Water Department closely adhered to NH DES rules, regulations, and established protocols. The Town of Seabrook is very grateful for the high level of assistance provided by the NH DES. DES was immediately available for consultation and was on site in Seabrook at 7:00 am Saturday. The strong work of Chief Operator George Eaton and Superintendent Curtis Slayton provided critical updates to the Seabrook Board of Selectmen, who are the Water Commissioners of the Town of Seabrook. Daily updates to the public were issued under the direction of the Seabrook Board of Selectmen, who instructed management to keep this process open and transparent. The Seabrook Water Department will continue to work with the N.H. DES, and will conduct additional testing beyond the traditional level over the next week.
The Town of Seabrook Water Department personnel met this morning, in Seabrook, with a representative of DES. The Chief Operator and Water Superintendent were on hand, and have transmitted to the Seabrook Board of Selectmen a status report. Additional water sampling was conducted Friday evening, and has been sent to a state certified lab for analysis. Additional data will inform, and will be the basis of determination for the next necessary steps. The Seabrook Water Department anticipates this data will be available on Sunday July 15. The Seabrook Water Department continues to manage this response in close cooperation with the New Hampshire DES, with strict adherence to DES policies and protocols. At this time there is no boil order in effect, and that determination is made in consultation with, and in adherence to, DES protocols. The DES has informed the Town, after completing a complete sanitary survey of the water system, that there are no “operational deficiencies” that can be cited, as well as finding “no apparent source of contamination.” The Town will continue to issue updates to the public as information becomes available.
The Town of Seabrook was notified tonight by our state certified lab that one of our water samples tested positive for E. coli bacteria. We have been, since that time, in close consultation with the New Hampshire DES, and we are strictly adhering to NHDES protocols. The Town of Seabrook Water Department, along with NHDES, will be working over the weekend to resample to determine if there was a problem with the testing process, or if additional measures need to be taken. Chief Operator George Eaton and Water Superintendent Curtis Clayton have responded, and are currently working with NHDES on this issue. At this time no boil order for Seabrook has been issued. In the event that a boil water notice is issued, or other measures become necessary, the public will be notified by reverse 911 or code red, through social media, and through the Town website. The Seabrook Water Department will continue working with NHDES to resolve this issue, and to keep the public informed.
The Seabrook Board of Selectmen lifted the water restrictions that had been in place since last year on April 17, 2017. The lifting of these restrictions was recommended by Water Superintendent Curtis Slayton, who made a presentation to the Board. Superintendent Slayton indicated that Seabrook is currently outside of the drought area in New Hampshire, but asked residents to continue to use water carefully. The Board of Selectmen thanked the residents of Seabrook for their sacrifice and cooperation while the restrictions were in place. It enabled the Town Water system to recharge, and will aid the Water Department in meeting the increased demand that comes in summer months. A big thank you to all the residents.
The Seabrook Water Department has created the attached slide show to highlight the warrant articles that they have put forth for Town Meeting on March 14, 2017. Article 10, on Anne’s Lane, deserves a little attention. This line is undersized, but more importantly, has cracked frequently, forcing us to constantly repair it. Even after repairs it provides inadequate water pressure to the homes served. The Board of Selectmen have authorized the utilization of Unexpended Fund Balance to finance the anticipated costs, which leaves no impact to the taxpayers. It would be a good investment, and allow us to replace the old and faulty one inch line with an 8 inch line that meets the needs of our residents, and comports to the existing water ordinance. Please get out and vote.
I have attached the Seabrook Water Restriction ordinance passed by the Board of Selectmen on July 7, 2016. (The text is also below)
The ordinance was necessitated by severe drought conditions, as well as by a winter that did not fully replenish our well system. If you have any questions or concerns please call the Seabrook Water Department at 603-474-9921 or the Town Managers office at 603-474-3252.
This post has been amended on Monday July 11, 2016, as the Board of Selectmen, in Special Session, further amended the water restriction ordinance by allowing the full watering of gardens on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday, between the hours of 7:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. The Board also specifically excluded the non-commercial washing of cars. Those changes are reflected below.
Emergency Water Ban Ordinance
Notice is hereby given that the Seabrook Board of Selectmen, in their capacity as the Board of Water Commissioners, intends to formally adopt the following emergency ordinance regulating the excessive use of water at its meeting on July 7,2016 pursuant to the powers granted in Seabrook’s Municipal Water System Ordinance (the “Ordinance”), the Seabrook Home Rule Charter and the Revised Statutes of the State of New Hampshire, as amended:
WHEREAS, there exists in the Town of Seabrook (the “Town”) drought conditions which have created a critical situation for the water systems ability to meet peak summer demand; and
WHEREAS, an adequate supply of water is necessary for the public health and safety; and
WHEREAS, the Town’s Board of Water Commissioners are charged with promoting the implementation of prudent and effective water conservation measures, protecting the health and safety of consumers, protecting the Town’s source waters and safeguarding the public water supply; and
WHEREAS, under the current drought conditions, restrictions on the use of Town water for secondary purposes are necessary to protect the public health, safety and welfare;
THEREFORE, be it enacted pursuant to Section 6:5 of the Ordinance “Curtailment of Use”:
PROHIBITION OF THE EXCESSIVE USE OF WATER
1. The use of Town water in excess of current uses and amounts by persons, firms, or corporations is hereby prohibited, and the use of Town water outside of the primary domicile or place of business other than for drinking, cooking, and hygienic reasons is prohibited. Specifically prohibited is the filling of swimming or wading pools, the non-commercial washing of cars, the watering of lawns, trees, shrubbery, or gardens (except gardens operated for commercial purposes) and the utilization of irrigation systems in that use. The ordinance allows, as an exception, the use of “water buckets” only to provide water for non-commercial gardens, except on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday, when normal watering will be allowed (for vegetable gardens only) between the hours of 7:30 p.m. through 8:30 p.m. Exception is also made for water used in the maintenance of livestock.
2. Upon notification of a violation of this ordinance the Seabrook Water Department shall have the authority to investigate the alleged violation and reserves the authority to terminate water service, pursuant to Sections 6.7 and 6.8 of the Ordinance, in the event that a violation is found to have occurred. Said water supply will remain turned off until the Water Department or Board of Water Commissioners are satisfied that the violation will not continue or recur.
3. The Board of Water Commissioners reserves the right to pursue additional legal action against violators of this ordinance to include injunctive relief, a cease and desist order, civil penalties, and criminal prosecution pursuant to Sections 12.10 – 12.12 of the Ordinance, where it is deemed appropriate.
4. There shall be, in addition to any other penalties provided by law a fine of One Hundred Dollars ($100) for each separate violation of this ordinance.
5. This ordinance shall be effective until October 1, 2016 or as may be determined by the Board of Water Commissioners in consultation with the Water Superintendent.
6. If any provisions of this ordinance or any portion of such provision or the application thereof to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the remainder of the ordinance and the remainder of such provision and the application thereof to other persons and circumstances shall not be affected thereby.