A sad announcement: Steve Conklin, a founder of SOG, passed away

We are very sad to announce the passing of Steve Conklin on January 15, 2015, while he was on vacation with his beloved wife Ellen in Mexico. Steve was part of the original group of neighbors that formed Save Our Groundwater and brought his formidable knowledge as a engineer to the task of protecting community water. We could always count on Steve to have verifiable facts and solid science to add to public hearings and administrative meetings. He was fearless in pursuing the truth. He went on to assist the Town of Barrington with water issues and served many years with Ellen on the Advisory Budget Committee. We will greatly miss Steve, and in equal measure are grateful for all his many contributions to SOG.

Calling hours will be held at the Purdy Memorial Chapel, 2 Concord Road (Route 4), Lee, NH from 10a.m. to 1p.m., Saturday, January 24, 2015. All are invited to join the family in a Celebration of Life from 2-5pm at the Galley Hatch in Hampton, NH. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be sent in Steve’s name to the Barrington Food Pantry, P.O. Box 660, Barrington, NH 03825.

You can read the obituary for Steve in the January 22, 2015 Foster’s Daily Democrat:

Kane Co. changes marketing for USA Springs, Inc. bankruptcy property

The Kane Company in Portsmouth, NH began marketing the USA Springs, Inc. bankruptcy property for sale in 2014 with court approval. Initially, it was promoted as having 189 acres, with “extensive research, engineering and planning”. It described footings and frame for a 176,000SF warehouse with three wells on site. It was priced at $1.95 million.

Then, something changed in late Summer 2014 with the advertising ploys. The latest one, available for download by clicking here, is advertises the property as the former site “to house the USA Springs mineral water extraction and bottling operations.” It goes on to list the state’s 2004 groundwater withdrawal permit and the gallons-per-day for each of the three wells without mentioning that the permit EXPIRED July 1, 2014.

Interestingly, the promotion also does not mention the state’s outstanding Administrative Order WD 02-31, September 30, 2002 (review it here) for USA Springs, Inc.’s major wetlands violations that were never fixed. The violations included about 13,000SF of wetlands dredged and filled without a permit and over 100,000SF of contiguous area disturbed without a site specific permit.

“Divide in Concord” screens at NH Film Festival Oct. 17 & 18

Learn about how Concord, MA citizens are making history again when they voted to ban the sale of single-serve bottled water in their community! Be inspired by what an 84-year old grandmother can organize with her friends! Watch the documentary “Divide in Concord” this Friday 10/17 and Saturday, 10/18 at the NH Film Festival in Portsmouth, NH. Screening place and times are in the Calendar section. Hope to see you there!

“Divide in Concord” screenings 9/20 Newburyport, MA

Learn about how Concord, MA banned bottled water sales in their community and is making history again. Be inspired by what an 84-year old grandmother can organize with her friends. Watch the documentary “Divide in Concord” this Saturday, 9/20 at 4pm as part of the Newburyport Film Festival in Massachusetts. Hope to see you there!

SOG’s Just Desserts Celebration

Save Our Groundwater invites our supporters to a Just Desserts Celebration in honor of our sweet success! As of July 1, 2014, the large groundwater withdrawal permit issued to USA Springs, Inc. expired! The event takes place Tuesday, July 15, 2014 from 5:30-8pm at the Pepperidge Woods Community Center in Barrington. We hope to see you there!

Save Our Groundwater remarks on the July 1st expiration of USA Springs, Inc.’s Large Groundwater Withdrawal Permit

Save Our Groundwater, the Seacoast grassroots organization that proved people have the power to impact the law and make lasting changes, is still around to savor the day the USA Springs, Inc. large groundwater withdrawal permit expired July 1.

To download the full statement, click here.

NH HB1288 requiring bottled water labels to show source voted inexpedient to legislate

House Bill 1288, sponsored by Charles Weed (District 16, Cheshire) and Douglas Ley (District 9, Cheshire)  to require bottled water to show the source of the water on labels, was found ITL- inexpedient to legislate on February 19, 2014 by the House Commerce and Consumer Affairs committee. To read the bill’s docket, click here.

NH House Bill 1608 to ban fracking deemed inexpedient to legislate (ITL)

HB1608 was sponsored by Timothy Horrigan (District 6, Strafford) and Mary Gorman (District 31, Hillsborough) to ban fracking in New Hampshire along with the discharge of fracking wastewater in our state. The House Environment and Agriculture Committee voted the bill ITL- inexpedient to legislate on March 12, 2014. To read the bill’s text and docket, click here.

While New Hampshire currently does not have hydraulic fracturing for natural gas, i.e. fracking, it is quite possible that such operations might take place in New York state. Hydraulic fracturing is a drilling technique using millions of gallons of water mixed with many chemicals to pulverize shale rock for gas. See “In The News” for more articles about fracking or click here.

Private well owner? Time to test your well…

Approximately 40% of New Hampshire residents rely on private wells for drinking water, estimates the NH Department of Environmental Services (DES). For those who do, this means you are the health inspector and maintenance provider for your water system. Protect your health and those you love by sampling your water and testing it at a state-certified lab. Keep  your test records and start building the story of your water. If a water bottler should ever turn up in your neighborhood, you’ll have documented proof of how your well functioned before they started pumping. To download DES’ fact sheet on well testing, click here.

2014 NH Legislature bills we’re watching…

SOG is following several bills in the 2014 session of the New Hampshire General Court:

House Bill 1288: This bill would require bottled water labels to indicate the source of water.

Sponsors: Rep. Weed and Rep. Ley

Committee: Commerce and Consumer Affairs

To follow the bill’s status, click:

To read the bill, click:

House Bill 1467: This bill would require DES to terminate certain large groundwater withdrawal permits when required local building permits become null and void. Jim Hadley, of the Neighborhood Guardians, worked on this with Rep. Maureen Mann. It is a version of the bill that he also worked on with Sen. Jack Barnes in 2010 (SB369) based on the Nottingham/Barrington experience of an expired water bottler building permit yet a continuing DES Large Groundwater withdrawal permit.

Sponsors: Rep. Mann; Rep. Danais; Rep. Ebel; Sen. Reagan

Committee: Resources, Recreation and Development

To follow the bill’s status, go to the docket:

To read the bill, go to:

To read Jim Hadley’s Jan. 26, 2014 letter to the House 1467 Subcommittee, click here.

WHAT YOU CAN DO: You are encouraged to communicate with you state legislators and share your point of view on bills. It is also helpful to write to the committee clerk of a bill or directly to committee members with your position on it or suggestions to improve it.

Email letters are acceptable, although not all emails are read in a timely manner. You may want to fax or send a copy as well as email.

A phone call to your legislator is also acceptable, although this provides no written record for the committee.

To find your legislators, click here and enter your town.