Every two years, the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services provides the opportunity for the Regional Planning Commissions and the Connecticut River Joint Commissions to apply for water quality planning grants. Available through the Clean Water Act Section 604(b) funds, these grants are strictly intended for water quality planning purposes, with priority given to projects developing watershed-based plans.
In 2014, Strafford Regional Planning Commission successfully applied for 604(b) funding and will be working with the Town of Durham to better understand the risks of current septic systems in the Sunnyside Drive, Woodridge Road, and Foss Farm Road neighborhoods. This is important for a number of reasons, including:
The overall goal of this project will be to provide information to Durham staff and local decision-makers on the importance of managing community septic systems. This will be done by using a priority ranking method that measures the potential risk from failing septic systems draining to Durham's waterbodies. This database will assist Durham in ensuring that septic systems are properly maintained and is a starting point for further public education and outreach on the environmental impacts of a failing system. The project will also consider the impacts of flooding and flood prone areas from the increased frequency of severe storm events (4" event in 24 hours) on septic systems due to climate change.
In order to ensure safe and adequate drinking water supplies for the region, the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services provides local source water protection grants. This source of funding is intended to be used to develop and implement programs to protect existing and future sources of public drinking water.
Currently, the Strafford Regional Planning Commission is working with the City of Rochester to update their present Aquifer Protection Ordinance, which refers to outdated studies (Whitman and Howard, 1982) and is not protecting all of the areas it should be based on newer delineations. There is general consensus that the City's current ordinance does not do enough to protect existing and potential groundwater supply areas. The purpose of this update will be to focus on the protection of those stratified aquifers which have been identified as locations for community production wells.
This update will be to provide the City of Rochester with a draft ordinance that complies with state laws and is consistent with current approaches to groundwater protection and will be modified to be consistent with existing local land use development regulations.
It is expected that a final draft ordinance will be presented to the City Council in early April, 2015.
Download: Durham Septic Project Brochure [ ]
Download: Durham Septic Project Flyer [ ]
Download: Durham Green Infrastructure Flyer [PDF ]
Download: Rochester Green Infrastructure Flyer [DRAFT] [PDF ]
Strafford Regional Planning Commission
150 Wakefield Street, Suite 12
Rochester, New Hampshire 03867
Tel: (603) 994-3500 Fax: (603)994-3504