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Portsmouth Water District incumbents re-elected comfortably

The results for yesterday's election for the Portsmouth Water and Fire District offered no surprises, as the incumbents (and sole declared candidates) for each position were all elected by near-unanimous margins, according to tallies provided to the media.

For the two open positions for Tax Assessor, Ted Czech received 64 votes and Michael Nott 54. For Tax Collector, Fred Faerber received 55 votes (with 1 write in) and Treasurer Allen Shers was returned to office with 63 votes (also 1 write in.)

A total of 69 votes were cast in an election where there were 12,779 eligible voters, for a turnout of 0.54%.

Congratulations to our re-elected officials, and thanks to everyone who took time to vote!

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Portsmouth Water District elections TODAY!

The Portsmouth Water and Fire District holds its annual election of officers today — Wednesday, June 10 — at the District main office at 1944 East Main Road, and everyone who is a ratepayer in the district can vote. Polls open at 7am and close at 8pm.

This year, four positions are up for election -- one Tax Collector, one Treasurer, and two Tax Assessors. All four races are uncontested, with incumbents running for re-election.
For Tax Collector, Fred Faerber is seeking re-election, incumbent Treasurer Allen Shers is seeking another term, and Tax Assessors Ted Czech and Michael Nott are also running for re-election.

I urge everyone to take a few minutes out of your day to stop by and vote.

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Portsmouth Water elections to be held June 10

The Portsmouth Water and Fire District holds its annual election of officers on Wednesday, June 10 at the District main office at 1944 East Main Road, and everyone who is a ratepayer in the district can vote. Polls open at 7am and close at 8pm.

This year, four positions are up for election -- one Tax Collector, one Treasurer, and two Tax Assessors. All four races are uncontested, with incumbents running for re-election.

For Tax Collector, Fred Faerber is seeking re-election, incumbent Treasurer Allen Shers is seeking another term, and Tax Assessors Ted Czech and Michael Nott are also running for re-election.

As I remind people every year, this is one of those rare elections where write-ins can (and, in the past, have) resulted in upsets, so I urge everyone to take a few minutes out of your day to stop by and vote. I'll remind you.

Editorial note: Written substantially from a press release.

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Portsmouth Water to begin clearing hydrants; you can help

The Portsmouth Water and Fire District's operations staff and its contractors will begin clearing snow around the District's 570 fire hydrants on Wednesday morning. Residents can help expedite this process by clearing the snow around any fire hydrants near their house. Hydrants should be cleared so that the Portsmouth Fire Department can easily see and access the hydrants for fire fighting. The public's assistance in this effort will be greatly appreciated by the Portsmouth Water and Fire District and the Portsmouth Fire Department.

Editorial note: Written from a press release.

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New treatment plants fix Portsmouth water quality issue [update]

Portsmouth customers have already seen an improvement in water quality courtesy of new treatment plants, according to a news release from the Portsmouth Water and Fire District.

Quarterly water samples collected from February 2014 through November 2014 indicate that the Portsmouth Water and Fire District is in compliance with the state and federal regulations for Total Trihalomethanes (TTHMs). TTHM compliance is measured as a four-quarter, running annual average of four sample sites within a water distribution system and the EPA maximum level for TTHMs is 80.0 parts per billion. The TTHM four quarter, running annual average for the District’s most recent compliance period was 71.8 parts per billion.

In September of 2014, the District issued a news release and mailed a notice to customers indicating that it had exceeded the TTHM regulations. That excedance was based on the four-quarter running annual average of 89.2 parts per billion for the period of November 2013 through August 2014. The most recent quarterly testing in November 2014 resulted in a TTHM average for the quarter of 24.6 parts per billion, which brought the District’s four-quarter, running annual average into compliance.

William J. McGlinn, the General Manager and Chief Engineer for the District, indicated that construction of the new Lawton Valley Water Treatment Plant in Portsmouth and the renovation of the Station One Water Treatment Plant in Newport made an immediate difference in the TTHM levels for Portsmouth Water, Newport Water and the Navy – the three island water suppliers. The water treatment plants project was constructed by the City of Newport and both plants were put on-line in the second half of 2014. Due to the challenging water quality of the City of Newport’s nine reservoirs, Advanced Water Treatment processes have been incorporated into the two water treatment plants in order to assure compliance with drinking water standards, particularly the TTHM standards. The total project cost is $84 million, which is being funded for through the water rates of all water users on the island.

Update, 1/22/15 5:16pm: An earlier version of this story included an incorrect expansion of the acronym "TTHM." It stands for Total Trihalomethanes, rather than just "Trihalomethanes." This error was present in the press release from the Portsmouth Water and Fire District, and was pointed out by a reader. My apologies for letting this slip through.

Editorial note: Written from a press release.

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Portsmouth motorist heads-up: construction on Boyd Lane today and tomorrow

The Portsmouth Water and Fire District will be doing water main work on Boyd Lane on the southeast side of the Rt. 24 northbound off ramp today and tomorrow from 7:30am, according to a release. Boyd Lane traffic will be shifted into two narrow lanes, and motorists are advised that there may be delays, especially during morning and evening commutes.

Editorial note: Written from a press release.

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Portsmouth Water to flush mains next week

The Portsmouth Water and Fire District will be flushing water mains in the southern sections of Portsmouth next week from 8pm to 6am, according to a schedule they announced today:

Oct 20 East Main Road and Middle Road from Crossings Court to Hedly Street. Hedly Street and all side streets, including Industrial Park. Corys Lane and all side streets. Kings Grant and all side streets. West Main Road from Hedly Street to Union Street, including Father Flanagan’s and John Street.
Oct 21 Middle Road and all side streets to the west, Mill Lane and all side streets, West Passage Drive to Locust Avenue, Stonegate Drive, Greylock Drive, and Greystone Terrace area.
Oct 22 East Main Road to Middle Road, from Town Hall to Union Street.
Oct 23 East Main Road from Sherwood Terrace Vanderbilt Lane, east to the Sakonnet River, Union Street, Jepson Lane, and all side streets.
Oct 28 East Main Road from Lawrence Farms to Sherwood Terrace. Vanderbilt Lane to Sandy Point Avenue and all side streets.
Oct 29 East Main Road from Union Street to Mitchell Lane and side streets, Oakland Farms, Bramans Lane east to Meadow Lark Lane. Sandy Point Avenue and Sandy Point Farms.
Oct 30 Wapping Road to Old Mill Lane. Bramans Lane and side streets. Old Mill Lane, Indian Avenue and side streets.

The PWFD goes on to advise customers:

Discoloration of the water is expected during and after the flushing. Flushing in one area may create discolored water in other areas. Customers are advised to avoid washing clothes and those with hot water tanks are advised to avoid drawing hot water during the flushing hours and until any discoloration has cleared. It is expected that the water will clear by midday after the flushing. Customers may also experience low water pressure during the flushing. This schedule is subject to weather conditions or other unforeseen circumstances.

Editorial note: Written from a press release.

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Portsmouth water main flushing next week

The Portsmouth Water and Fire District will be flushing water mains in the north end of town next week from 8pm to 4am, according to a schedule they announced today:

  • Oct 7: Willow Lane and Sprague Street, Bristol Ferry Road to Camara Drive and Mitchell Road, and side streets
  • Oct 8: Bristol Ferry Road from Cherokee Drive to Bayview Avenue, Boyds Lane to East Main Road and side streets. East Main Road from Sprague Street and Child Street to Boyds Lane and side streets, including Viking Drive area
  • Oct 9: Island Park and Hummocks Point areas
  • Oct 14: Sprague Street to Freeborn Street, Turnpike Avenue and side streets; West Main Road from Statue Way to Sprague Street and side streets
  • Oct 15: East Main Road from Child Street to Clements and Aquidneck Place and side streets to Sakonnet River. Also Common Fence Point
  • Oct 16: Common Fence Point

The PWFD goes on to advise customers:

Discoloration of the water is expected during and after the flushing. Flushing in one area may create discolored water in other areas. Customers are advised to avoid washing clothes and those with hot water tanks are advised to avoid drawing hot water during the flushing hours and until any discoloration has cleared. It is expected that the water will clear by midday after the flushing. Customers may also experience low water pressure during the flushing.

Editorial note: Written from a press release.

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Portsmouth water exceeds TTHM standard

Water supplied to Portsmouth residents has exceeded the federal EPA standard for trihalomethanes (TTHMs) for the past year, according to a statement released to media today by the Portsmouth Water and Fire District (PWFD). The EPA standard is 80 parts per billion (ppb) for an annual running average, and the Portsmouth water came in at 89.2 ppb.

TTHMs, according to the EPA web site, are "a group of four chemicals that are formed along with other disinfection byproducts when chlorine or other disinfectants used to control microbial contaminants in drinking water react with naturally occurring organic and inorganic matter in water."

According to PWFD, the level does not constitute an emergency and no action by customers is required, but it has triggered a notification requirement. PWFD customers will receive notice by mail from the district within the next month.

The new water treatment plant under construction on West Main Road will incorporate advanced processes to ensure compliance with drinking water standards, the PWFD said, and is scheduled to become operational before the end of the year.

Read more about TTHMs on the EPA site, or download the full press release here.

Editorial note: Written from a press release.

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Portsmouth Water District releases 2013 Consumer Confidence Report

14apr17_pwfd.jpgThe Portsmouth Water and Fire District’s annual Consumer Confidence Report (CCR) was mailed to customers on June 25th and 26th, according to a release from the District. The CCR indicates that the District’s drinking water met or surpassed all Federal standards in 2013. According to the CCR, the District does not own any water supplies, but purchases its regular water supply on a wholesale basis from the Newport Water Department and relies on the Stone Bridge Fire District in Tiverton for emergency water supply.

The CCR, which is required of all public water suppliers by the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act, summarizes the District’s water sources and provides information on regulated and unregulated contaminants in the water. The CCR also provides important health information on drinking water, including bottled water, particularly for those people that may be immunocompromised.

The CCR also provides health information about specific water quality issues and indicates that the District continues to experience high levels of Total Trihalomethanes (TTHMs), which are a by-product of drinking water chlorination and are a suspected carcinogen. The CCR shows that in 2013 the District’s highest four-quarter Running Annual Average TTHM level was 96.3 parts per billion (ppb), which is above the EPA Maximum Contaminant Level of 80.0 ppb. The range of TTHMs measured in the distribution system was 21.5 to 134 ppb.

TTHMs are an on-going concern for the District, Newport Water and the Navy, as all three island water suppliers are distributing the same treated water. The CCR indicates that the City of Newport has awarded a design-build contract for the construction of a new Lawton Valley Treatment Plant in Portsmouth and improvements to the Station 1 Treatment Plant in Newport. The total project cost is $84 million. Due to the challenging water quality of the City of Newport’s nine reservoirs, Advanced Water Treatment processes are incorporated into the improvements at each plant in order to assure compliance with drinking water standards, particularly TTHM standards. The plants are scheduled to be operational before the end of 2014. All water users on the island will pay for these improvements through increased water rates.

Copies of the report are available at the District’s main office at 1944 East Main Road and the Portsmouth Free Public Library. The report is also available on the Internet at portsmouthwater.org.

Customers with questions on the report or about water quality in general are encouraged to call the District’s office at 683-2090.

Editorial note: Written from a press release.

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