The Saint Anselm Crier

Ginger Gates ’17 spends summer with NH Environmental Services

Jasmine Blais, Culture Editor

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According to senior Ginger Gates, this summer was a demanding one for the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services in Concord, New Hampshire.

Southern parts of New Hampshire, including the Manchester area, are currently experiencing conditions of “extreme drought,” the likes of which the state has not seen in decades.

Although the city has not enacted any water use restrictions, nearby municipalities such as Bedford, Goffstown, and Merrimack have either placed restrictions on water use or have asked their citizens to voluntarily restrict their usage.

In the spring, a contamination of Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA) was found in southern regions of the state’s drinking water in the towns of Merrimack and Litchfield.  PFOA is used to make carpets, clothing, paper packaging for food, and other plastic products.

According to the EPA, drinking water that tests above a concentration of 70 parts per trillion is considered contaminated. Areas of the state testing repeatedly above this margin are provided safe drinking water by the NHDES.

Gates is from Pembroke, New Hampshire, just outside of Concord. Without the work done by NHDES, she and her family would be affected by these issues directly.

Gates worked as an environmental advocate for NH through summer internship.

Courtesy\Ginger Gates
Gates worked as an environmental advocate for NH through summer internship.

The work Gates completed during her internship was project based. Gates was responsible for creating an excel matrix of existing rules concerning groundwater and drinking water and their earlier versions.

During her time at NHDES, Gates not only learned about the environmental problems in her own community, but also how those problems are perpetuated by lack of environmental awareness.

Gates tells The Saint Anselm Crier, “The NHDES does a really great job of informing its citizens. Their website is full of relevant information regarding drought conditions, water restrictions, and PFOA testing.”

Gates reminds the Saint Anselm College community of the drought’s relevance to our campus and greater Manchester area as a whole: “It is so important to be informed about the water conditions surrounding our college.  Many students come from the Greater Boston area, and may not know that that Manchester is in a drought.  I, myself am paying special attention to how much water I use and hope that other students will too.”

“You truly underestimate how important water is to our everyday lives until it’s no longer available,” says Gates.

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Ginger Gates ’17 spends summer with NH Environmental Services