March 22, 2011

Model flyers, town of Londonderry, remain on common ground

New Hampshire Flying Tigers booth at Londonderry
Union Leader Correspondent
LONDONDERRY -- A former landfill and town dump on Auburn Road will continue to be used as a launching area by a local group of model airplane enthusiasts.
Following a brief discussion held during the Monday night Town Council meeting, the board voted unanimously in favor of renewing an agreement between the New Hampshire Flying Tigers and the town of Londonderry, which owns the Auburn Road site. 
In accordance with the renewed contract, the town will retain control and flexibility regarding the site’s usage. 
The model airplane club, which boasts around 70 members from Londonderry and surrounding towns, has been using the Auburn Road site since summer 2008. 
Town Councilor John Farrell said the agreement has worked well over the past several years, and the council voted unanimously in favor of extending the agreement. 
The landfill site was used as the town’s dump during the 1960s, and at one time more than 1,000 drums of chemical waste, discarded tires and solid waste were buried there. 
The state closed the landfill in 1980 after hazardous substances were found in nearby surface and ground water. Later, it was determined by the Environmental Protection Agency that the contaminated water was flowing toward residential wells at the nearby Whispering Pines Mobile Home Park. 
In 1987, the government agency declared the area a federal Superfund site, mandating that most of the 570 residences within a one-mile radius of the area be supplied with municipal water. 
Federal law requires Superfund sites to be examined every five years to determine whether cleanup efforts are still required. The most recent examination was conducted last summer. 
Past cleanup efforts included installing a water line, capping three disposal areas, establishing institutional controls and performing monitored natural attenuation of arsenic-contaminated ground water. 
Contamination within the soil is believed to have been removed or encapsulated, and EPA officials believe there are no longer any known users of the contaminated ground water. 
Before using the Auburn Road site, the Flying Tigers had been using a field located behind Merrimack Wood Products (off B Street) in Derry near the Londonderry border. 
When that property was put up for sale several years ago, club members approached the town of Londonderry regarding the vacant former landfill. 
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