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New Hampshire Officials Suggest Coastal Desalination Plant

This article is more than 4 years old.

A New Hampshire seacoast official says investing in a regional plant to convert seawater into drinking water could provide a limitless supply of clean water to communities from southern Maine to northern Massachusetts.

Portsmouth Assistant Mayor Jim Splaine tells the Portsmouth Herald he wants to see a seacoast coalition formed to investigate the potential of building a desalination plant.

Splaine says the region needs to prepare for future economic and population growth.

He said a regional approach could include communities from Oqunquit, Maine, to Newburyport, Massachusetts.

"The 21st-century technology is a challenge which we should accept and explore," Splaine said.

Federal, state and Portsmouth officials are continuing to grapple with the contaminated, city-owned Haven Well at the Pease International Tradeport.

The tradeport is located at the former Pease Air Force Base, which is a Superfund clean-up site.

Seabrook town manager William Manzi said his town's selectmen have also asked also him to look into the desalination process.

The issue for Seabrook doesn't deal with tainted groundwater, but "whether there's sufficient supply," Manzi said.

Manzi said the town of Swansea, Mass., has been successfully operating a desalination plant and he plans to reach out to officials there to find out about the system. He noted that the process to desalinate salt water is "energy intensive" and a costly endeavor.

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