Permit Approval Clears Way for Great Bay Restoration
December 13, 2013
The Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) reports that the Environmental Appeals Board has affirmed the Clean Water Act permit requiring significant nitrogen pollution reductions at Newmarket, New Hampshire’s outdated sewage-treatment plant. An upgrade of the plant would reduce the amount of nitrogen being emitted by the plant, which is an “essential and urgently needed step toward restoring the health of the Great Bay estuary,” according to CLF Riverkeeper Jeff Barnum.
In December 2012, the EPA issued a permit that established a limit on the amount of nitrogen that can be discharged from the Newmarket sewage treatment plant into the Lamprey River (and downstream, to Great Bay). The release of the permit prompted a group of towns calling themselves the Municipal Coalition (comprised of Dover, Rochester and Portsmouth) to file an appeal on behalf of Dover and Rochester, challenging the Newmarket permit and its strict limits on pollution. The towns called into question the science EPA had relied upon (including a Great Bay nitrogen analysis prepared by the N.H. Department of Environmental Services) and the procedures EPA had followed. However, the Environmental Appeals Board decision rejects those arguments and denies the appeal.