Work should begin next year on a major project to boost water supplies in Jaffrey and Peterborough now that the U.S. Economic Development Administration has awarded a $2.3 million grant that completes the funding package, officials for both towns said this week.
Water from three wells will be sent to a treatment plant that will be built in Jaffrey. Pipelines will then be constructed to carry the water to the two communities in the $16.3 million project, Jaffrey Town Manager Jon Frederick said.
Companies will be asked to submit construction bids over the next couple months, and the new system should be operational in 2024, he added.
Frederick said the announcement of the grant last week was welcome news for a proposal that has been in the planning stage for several years.
“We are very grateful,” Frederick said Tuesday. “This was the final piece of a very long puzzle that started in January of 2018.”
Other funding comes from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the New Hampshire Drinking Water and Groundwater Trust Fund and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The three new Cold Stone Springs wells, which straddle the Jaffrey-Sharon town line, will be able to provide 500,000 gallons of water per day to be shared between the two towns as need dictates, Frederick said. By comparison, Jaffrey’s current system can provide a daily maximum of 1.1 million gallons.
Present water systems for the two towns sometimes face capacity issues that require restricted use in some dry seasons. The new system is intended to help with such shortages while allowing for increased demand needed for economic development and potential residential growth.
One company that has sought additional local water capacity is MilliporeSigma, which has a plant in Jaffrey that employs more than 1,200 people and makes filters and membranes used in the manufacture of pharmaceuticals.
“We needed an alternate source of water to help support the projected demand that we have coming from particularly Millipore, but this town has been looking for an alternate source for quite a while,” Frederick said.
Rachel Bloom-Baglin, a spokesperson for that company, said it has worked with the town of Jaffrey in support of the Cold Stone Springs project.
“This project ensures there is enough water supply for use in our facilities to continue to meet our growth expectations,” she said.
In December 2020, the company announced a $22 million expansion and upgrade of its 260,000-square-foot plant in Jaffrey and the addition of 275 new employment positions.
The company has also called for more residential development in the region, something that also requires an adequate water supply.
MilliporeSigma Senior Director David C. Nichols appeared with Gov. Chris Sununu at a news conference at the state Capitol in April to describe challenges that his and other companies encounter when trying to find places for newly hired employees to live.
Peterborough Town Administrator Nicole MacStay said the water project is very important to her community, too.
“Not only does the project provide Jaffrey the water it needs to supply to Millipore, which is one of the largest employers in our area, but also it’s going to provide a second source of groundwater for the town of Peterborough,” she said.
“Currently all three of our wells are in the same aquifer. With recent droughts and mechanical issues with the wells, it’s become apparent to us that we need to diversify that supply.”
New Hampshire’s congressional delegation announced the U.S. Economic Development Administration grant.
“I’m thrilled that the Economic Development Administration chose Jaffrey for this award, which provides a significant investment to Cheshire County by spurring job creation, prioritizing water infrastructure updates and investing in the economic vitality of Monadnock communities,” U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen said.
U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo said the grant is part of efforts by the Biden administration to support manufacturers and communities.
“This EDA grant will provide the infrastructure that Jaffrey needs to help local businesses expand and create jobs, supporting economic resiliency in the region,” she said.