Dartmouth has received a property easement that will allow the College to expand the treatment of groundwater and accelerate the cleanup related to the Rennie Farm property.
For two years, the College has been operating a groundwater pump-and-treat system on the Rennie property after the chemical 1,4 dioxane was found in soil and groundwater beneath and near the 223-acre College-owned farm at concentrations exceeding the state’s groundwater standard. The work the College has undertaken has been approved by the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services.
Last month, the College obtained the 15-year easement over a portion of property located along Rennie Road in Etna. Dartmouth will use the land to expand its treatment system and install wells to extract groundwater on the abutting land and pump it to the existing treatment system.
The College is in the process of obtaining town and state permits necessary to finish the well and piping work, which is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
The existing treatment system on the Rennie Farm property currently has 12 groundwater extraction wells and more than 90 monitoring wells throughout the neighborhood.
Expanding the system is expected to accelerate the removal of 1,4 dioxane, significantly reducing the time to complete remediation, says Maureen O’Leary, director of Dartmouth’s Office of Environmental Health and Safety. “This easement will expedite cleanup of the site and reduce the risk of the expansion of the contamination.”
To date, more than 140 private water-supply wells on properties located near Rennie Farm have been sampled, and 1,4-dioxane from Rennie Farm has been detected in one of the wells.
The contaminant is a synthetic substance used primarily as an additive in solvents. It is also found in numerous commonly used personal and household products.
In 2017, Dartmouth created the Value Assurance Program, which assures property owners in the defined program area (48 properties) that they will receive fair market value for their property if it is sold within the five-year program. To date, Dartmouth has purchased eight properties through the program. Six have houses on them; two are large vacant parcels. Dartmouth expects to resell the properties it purchases and is currently working with a local realtor to evaluate which property to list for sale this spring.
Information about the value assurance program and the work the College is performing to remediate the site can be found on the Rennie Farm Project website.