Dartmouth is extending by five years a program to protect the value of properties located near Rennie Farm property that may have been affected by the presence of contamination at the farm.
Created in 2017, the Rennie Farm Value Assurance Program (VAP) offers payment to property owners of record as of Feb. 3, 2017. Under the program, Dartmouth may purchase properties depending on a number of conditions, as outlined in the program.
Since 2017, Dartmouth has been operating a successful groundwater treatment system on the Rennie Farm property, which is located in the Hanover village of Etna. The chemical 1,4-dioxane was found in groundwater within a portion of an approximate half-acre area on the 223-acre Dartmouth-owned farm at concentrations exceeding the state’s groundwater standard.
From the mid-1960s to 1978, Dartmouth used a half-acre plot on the farm to dispose of animal remains used in medical research, under state and federal licenses. The 1,4-dioxane was first detected in the area in 2012, when ongoing monitoring of the site began. Dartmouth competed an extensive investigation and identified the chemical in groundwater to the northeast of the animal disposal area that extends off the Rennie Farm property.
Dartmouth currently monitors groundwater, surface water, and selected water supplies in the area for 1,4-dioxane, which is a synthetic substance used primarily as an additive in solvents and is considered a potential carcinogen by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Dartmouth’s treatment system has been approved by the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services.
Dartmouth voluntarily increased the area treated by the system to include an area northeast of the Rennie Farm property to accelerate the 1,4-dioxane cleanup. Initial results suggest that the expansion of the system has significantly increased the rate of removal of substance from groundwater.
The VAP, which covers properties in a defined area, provides that Dartmouth will either buy a program-area property at fair market value or pay the difference between an offer to purchase the property and the fair market value plus broker’s commission. The program was set to expire on Feb. 3, 2022. Dartmouth has extended the program to run through Feb. 3, 2027.
To date, Dartmouth has purchased 11 properties through the program. Of these properties, five homes have been resold. Dartmouth expects to resell the properties it purchases.