Drinking Water Threatened


To the Editor,

At the April 1 meeting of the Open Space Committee, we discussed Gordon College, whose land directly abuts Manchester’s primary drinking water source, which lies in Hamilton (Manchester Cricket, Open Space Committee Explores Housing-for-Conservation Deal for Gordon College Lands in LCD, 4/5/24)).  I did indeed emphasize the significance of this land, calling it “the most important piece of land in Manchester” — because it provides outstanding natural resource values and only the unbuildable wetland areas are protected.

The soils and wetlands of the Gordon College land filter surface and groundwater heading for Round and Gravelly Ponds.  Some of this natural infrastructure would be replaced by housing, generating pollutants.  As the area lacks municipal sewage, on-site septic systems would be needed.  The danger of septic failure would be added to the loss of beneficial water-cleansing. 

Allowing development is hardly a fair trade-off for a conservation restriction of little significance, as it would mainly apply to inaccessible upland areas and wetlands already protected by state and local law.  Nothing is more important to Manchester residents than a safe supply of drinking water.

Helen Bethell