Ossipee Aquifer Protection

Well Study Unveiled and Regional Aquifer Committee Forming

Ossipee Aquifer MapIf you live in the Ossipee Watershed region (a sub watershed of the Saco River Watershed), chances are, your drinking water comes from the Ossipee River Basin Aquifer.   The Ossipee Aquifer is the largest stratified drift aquifer in the State of New Hampshire.  Stratified drift aquifers lie within sand and gravel deposits laid down by meltwater rivers that drained the continental glaciers while they were retreating from this area approximately 15,000 years ago.  Because they consist mainly of sand and gravel, they are more vulnerable to contamination due to their extremely permeable soils. The high transmissivity of water in aquifer recharge areas means that potential contamination sources in one town can impact groundwater quality in another town, as water knows no boundaries.

How do we protect this essential resource well into the future? The answer lies in education and cooperation. There must be cooperation between the State, multiple towns, local organizations and all people living in the area.  Dr. Robert Newton from Smith College gave a presentation on Monday September 26th at Runnells Hall in Chocorua on the results of his continued research on ground water and the Ossipee Aquifer.   Dr. Newton introduced the audience to the Barnes Aquifer Protection Advisory Committee (BAPAC) that serves to protect the Barnes Aquifer, a large stratified drift aquifer located in the Connecticut River Valley in western Massachusetts.  The objective was to give a real life example of  how an advisory committee made up of representatives from multiple cities and towns that draw water from the aquifer can work together to effectively protect the quantity and quality of aquifer water for future generations.

newton-pres-9-26-2016-1Click here for Dr. Newton’s slide presentationClick here for slide notes.

GMCG has the goal of establishing a committee for the Ossipee Watershed.   There was great attendance at the first and second Aquifer Protection Committee meetings.  There are many town officials and residents who are interested in aquifer protection.  Funding for this project was provided in part by a Watershed Assistance Grant from the NH Department of Environmental Services with Clean Water Act Section 319 funds from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  GMCG is committed to 5 community meetings before the grant ends in May 2017.  A mission statement along with plans for the year ahead will be forthcoming at future meetings.

The next meeting will be January 11, 2017  (location to be determined).    GMCG invites all residents, municipal officials, business owners and anyone interested in learning more about this invaluable resource to participate.

For more information please contact Corey Lane at 539-1859 or email clane@gmcg.org.  Like us on Facebook to keep up with what is happening around the Watershed!