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.

Securities and Exchange Commission issues news release concerning fraud charges against former USA Springs, Inc. investment partner Malom, AG

The federal Securities and Exchange Commission issued a news release December 16, 2013 about fraud charges the agency is bringing against “Make A Lot Of Money” Malom, AG, the Switzerland-based financiers whom USA Springs, Inc. formerly partnered with in an effort to dig out of bankruptcy. You can read the news release by clicking here.

NH Dept. of Environmental Services sends strict standards to USA Springs, Inc. rep

In a letter dated October 10, 2013, the NH Department of Environmental Services reminds USA Springs, Inc.’s consultants that the company must meet strict standards for renewing their Large Groundwater Withdrawal Permit scheduled to expire July 1, 2014. This includes “demonstrating compliance with the large groundwater withdrawal/new source of bottled water rules and statutes…” AND addressing the following two issues:

1) complying with Administrative Order WD 02-31 concerning the company’s 2001 wetlands violations;

2) complying with the rule for instream flow, which the company declined to comply with in a letter dated January 13, 2010.

To read this letter and more, click here.

NH DES replies to USA Springs, Inc. about permit renewal request 7/19/13

Late Friday, July 19, 2013, the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Service, Drinking Water and Groundwater Bureau replied to USA Springs, Inc., a Delaware corporation currently in Chapter 7 bankruptcy for liquidation, concerning the company’s request for an extension for renewing their large groundwater withdrawal permit issued in 2004. At question are various changes in the law over the years, including administrative rules which govern how the law is applied. The letter to the corporation’s agent MyKroWaters, Inc. of Concord, MA is public record and can be downloaded here.

Town of Nottingham, NH attorney files letter with NH DES opposing permit renewal 7/18/13

Michael L. Donovan, attorney for the Board of Selectmen of Nottingham, NH, sent a four-page letter July 18, 2013 by mail and email to Brandon Kernen, New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (DES), Large Groundwater Withdrawal Program, opposing the request of USA Springs, Inc. to extend the date to apply for a renewal of its large groundwater withdrawal permit in five main points. The letter is public record and may be downloaded here.

Neighborhood Guardians write to NH DES 7/15/13 stating renewal request should be denied

The Neighborhood Guardians sent a letter via mail and email to the NH Department of Environmental Service (DES) citing four reasons why USA Springs, Inc. should not be granted an extension to renew the large groundwater withdrawal permit. The reasons include:

1) USA Springs, Inc, is still under an Administrative Order from the state for wetlands violations that have not been mitigated;

2) The five-year New Sources of Bottled Water permit expired October 15, 2010;

3) A condition of the 2004 Large Groundwater Withdrawal Permit (LGWP) is that 12 months of monitoring must proceed before commercial pumping operations can commence;

4) There is no record on file with the US Bankruptcy Court that USA Springs, Inc. or its representatives have been given permission to expend funds for an extension of the LGWP.

The letter is public record and can be downloaded here.

USA Springs, Inc. sends permit renewal letter to NH DES 6/28/13

USA Springs, Inc. sent a large groundwater permit renewal request letter through its agent MyKroWaters, Inc. of Concord, MA dated June 28, 2013 to the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (DES). The letter seeks DES’ position on what administrative rules apply for renewal, and also submits an extension request if the deadline was July 1, 2013. The letter is public record and can be downloaded here.

12 month countdown for USA Springs, Inc.’s water withdrawal permit begins July 1, 2013

What a difference twelve years of community activism makes! As of July 1, 2013, USA Springs, Inc., a Delaware corporation, has 12 months left on its state-issued large groundwater withdrawal permit. We can look forward soon to a future of water independence and sustainability. The July 1, 2004 permit issued by the NH Department of Environmental Services would have allowed the company to mine 307,528 gallons/day of groundwater. And, by working together, the people have saved 985,319,712–approaching one billion–gallons of water from being removed from the watershed since the company obtained the permit. USA Springs, Inc. is presently in Chapter 7 bankruptcy and faces legal liquidation of its assets. The corporation’s steel girders outlining the bottled water factory sit rusting in a field that borders highly valued wetlands for the towns of Nottingham and Barrington. Stay tuned, because the twists and turns in this case are notorious. SOG will keep you posted, as we have since 2001– so check back often, either here or on our Facebook page.

Water cycle featured on Google’s Earth Day doodle

Google celebrated Earth Day 2013 with an interactive and animated look at the water cycle in four seasons. You can check it out here: Happy Earth Day!