State: 4 to 8 million disks released ...

State: 4 to 8 million disks released from Hooksett wastewater treatment plant

There are 9 comments on the Hampton Union story from Mar 16, 2011, titled State: 4 to 8 million disks released from Hooksett wastewater treatment plant. In it, Hampton Union reports that:

Hooksett officials have provided new information on the number of small white round disks released from the Hooksett Wastewater Treatment Plant on March 6 that washed into the Merrimack River and have made their way to area beaches.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Hampton Union.

Since: Feb 10

Hampton, NH

#1 Mar 17, 2011
There were over 20 volunteers combing the beach today picking up these "poker chips" until 5 o'clock. We cannot get the town sifter out to the beach, even though every other town has done so. We really need volunteers to hit the beach with gloves and buckets to grab as many of these as you can.
For the really ambitious, there is a dumpster parked in the northern part of the beach area for those who like to fill garbage bags. Only 3-4 of the volunteers were from Seabrook, and this is a way that people can really help out the town.

Epping, NH

#2 Mar 17, 2011
Other towns hired a company to clean and the place responsible is paying the bill. Our town manager/selectman need to step up and not let this company get away with this.

Newmarket, NH

#3 Mar 17, 2011
is it really safe for just anyone to volunteer to pick these up. Shouldn't there be a special clean up crew to do this?

Nottingham, NH

#4 Mar 17, 2011
Let Hooksett pay for the clean up in Seabrook like everywhere else. Do you really think those things were tested for all the things you can get from live feces. I say let the Town Manager go down with his three muskateers lead the way in cleaning the Beach.

Since: Feb 10

Exeter, NH

#5 Mar 17, 2011
I don't think that you need any special skills to pick those discs up. I filled over three garbage bags in two days.

No, the Town government is not doing anything about the issue. Two of our selectmen were at the beach this morning looking at things, but this is a case of too many chiefs, not enough Indians.

The bottom line is that we're becoming too reliant on government to do even basic things for us. Other volunteers had a right to gripe and wonder aloud why there were so few Seabrook residents amongst the crew cleaning Seabrook Beach.

I'm sorry, but "can't someone else do it" just doesn't fly with most people in New Hampshire. Thomas Jefferson said, "Government should only do for the people what the people cannot do for themselves." The worst thing, in my mind, is if we as a people become completely dependent on the authorities to take care of even the most minor problems.

Nottingham, NH

#6 Mar 17, 2011
Local cleanup

Yesterday afternoon, it was announced that the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs is coordinating disk cleanup efforts and is deploying staff of the Department of Conservation and Recreation to affected ocean beaches. DCR crews will be on the beaches today, working in coordination with the forecasted high and low tides.

In the immediate aftermath of the disks' arrival locally, the Massachusetts DEP hired contractors to remove as many of the disks as they could. Newburyport seems to have been hit the hardest, with large concentrations along Cashman Park, the North End Boat Club and other locations, according to local officials. More than 200,000 of the disks have been collected already with many more expected to be found.

Across the border in New Hampshire, volunteers have been busy removing disks from Hampton, North Hampton and Seabrook beaches. This afternoon, between 50 and 60 volunteers are expected to converge on Seabrook Beach to remove disks from there. The town of Hooksett has also leased Dumpsters to be placed at each beach.

But Massachusetts officials have been girding the public to expect the cleanup to take months and not to expect that every single disk will be removed.

Several officials, including those in Newbury and Amesbury, expressed serious concern on the accident's effect on coastal environments. While the disks may be relatively easy to remove from wide and straight beaches, collecting them from rocky shores, marshes and other hard-to-reach surfaces will be a significant and potentially dangerous challenge.

"Whether they have E. coli or not, they're an extreme environmental hazard," Costello said. "This isn't something Boy Scouts or prisoners can pick up."

Baddour said there has been little discussion on what the disks could do to sensitive ecological areas, including Joppa Flats and the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge. Part of the problem is that it's hard to properly respond when it has been a challenge getting current and accurate information.

"You can't have a good conversation with bad facts," Baddour said.

Since: Feb 10

Exeter, NH

#7 Mar 17, 2011
I think that we managed about 30 volunteers in total, today. Most were upset that the Town wasn't bringing out any machinery to help, but I'm glad that so many folks pulled together to help out. I still have a bit of a sunburn from today, but the beach definitely looks better.

Thanks, again, to everyone who has chipped in over the last week.

Since: Feb 10

Exeter, NH

#8 Mar 18, 2011
The bad news is that those poker chips were washed up into the dunes last night because of the uber high tide. The good news is that far fewer than expected got lodged in their.

On the other hand, more washed up onto the beach, and many are now buried just under the surface. We can expect to see these for the rest of the summer, at least.

Since: Feb 10

Exeter, NH

#9 Mar 18, 2011

I just wanted to thank everyone again. Folks who'd like to help out can just grab gloves and a bag and start picking those things up.

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