Exeter Tank FAQs

This would require an access drive off of the on ramp to RT 101, which is not something that would likely be permitted by NH Department of Transportation.  An access road in this location would also be directly off the backyard of 3 Falcone Circle, and would require removing the current vegetated buffer between them and the highway.

exeter road elevated tank

The road is a public Town road and any change in its use is determined by the Hampton Select Board.

This tank is a large structure with a great deal of surface area.  All surfaces must be cleaned and, where needed, repairs made before the tank can be repainted.  The coatings will be applied carefully and the work inspected thoroughly before we can consider placing the tank in service again. This process will take many months to complete.

See the renderings below.  The new tank will be built to be functionally and visually identical to the existing tank.  At the end of the projects, both tanks will be painted with gray columns to blend in with tree bark, and topped with white tanks.

exeter tank views

During construction, there will be an increase in daytime traffic on the roads leading to the tank site.  Contractors will not be allowed to block the roads for any extended periods of time, nor be allowed to interfere with school bus routes and schedules, emergency response routes, etc.

All construction activity will be on Aquarion’s property and the public roads leading to it.

Standard construction methods will be employed to control dust, noise, traffic and other aspects of the project.

At this point in time, construction is anticipated to begin in 2020, and be completed in 2021.

There are other storage tanks in the water distribution, but they are at lower elevations (see Figure 1) and cannot sustain pressure and fire flows to the entire system.  Several alternatives were evaluated to address this need.

  • Maintain pressure and flow rates by installing temporary pumps, control systems and pressure modulation equipment
    • Unfortunately, these systems cannot meet around-the-clock reliability requirements for the extended periods of months when the existing tank would be out of service.
      • Reaction times, even for automated equipment, cannot always be fast enough to maintain normal operating stability.  The risks of high pressure and flow variations could result in reduced water service, discolored water, plumbing leaks and main breaks.
      • Temporary pumping systems cannot provide needed fire flows at all locations in the distribution system.
    • Cost estimates exceeded $1,000,000, which is very high for a relatively short time period (less than a year).  The company made the decision to invest this cost into a new tank that would benefit all present and future customers for decades to come.
  • Alternate locations
    • The Exeter Road / Falcone Circle site is one of three viable locations evaluated as new tank sites.  Possible locations for a new tank were limited due to elevation requirements, proximity to the water distribution system and property requirements.
      • Most important is elevation.  The top of the new tank needs to be at the same elevation as the top of the existing tank.  The new tank must be on high enough ground to flow large volumes of water for fire flows, yet not be prohibitively high because higher tanks are more expensive to construct, operate and maintain.
      • The new tank must be located within, or be very close to existing water pipes.  Extending new pipes any great distance is another added cost to the project.
      • The overall availability of vacant, buildable parcels in the company’s service territory that meet the criteria above is very  limited.
    • Each site that was evaluated had advantages and disadvantages for the following factors:
      • Short-term construction costs
      • Long-term operating and maintenance costs
      • Extension of water pipes
      • Water quality management
      • Overall impact on operations
    • Three possible locations were evaluated for the new tank:
      • Boutilier Drive in North Hampton
      • Breakfast Hill in Rye
      • Falcone Circle in Hampton

The Exeter Road tank is located at the edge of the Industrial Zone (I) in Hampton. Permitting for the new Exeter Road tank would require a variance for structure height and a special exception from the Zoning Board of Adjustment and a Site Plan approval from the Planning Board.

This project will require an approval from the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services.

When construction commences a Building Permit will be obtained.

At this time, the new tank is estimated to cost about $4 million.

It will be scheduled after the new tank is in service.  The work will be timed to optimize both cost and schedule.

The company evaluated the three locations listed above for a new tank.  The Falcone Circle location was chosen because:

  • It provides the same quality of water service throughout the water distribution system
  • It would require no changes to current operating procedures.
  • It is on property already owned by Aquarion and requires a minimal length of new pipe to connect it to the water distribution system.
  • It will provide the current level of fire flow capacity when the existing tank is taken out of service for maintenance
  • No changes to zoning are required
  • It can be completed on a faster schedule, and
  • It is the best alternative for both short-term and long-term operating and maintenance costs and schedule.

The Boutelier Lane location has a favorable elevation, and is on property owned by Aquarion.  However, substantial disadvantages include:

  • The parcel has no frontage on Boutelier Lane; there is a pipeline easement to Mill Road instead.  It would require approximately 8,000 feet of water pipe to connect the tank to the nearest point to water distribution system along this route.  This would add $1,000,000 to $2,000,000 to the project cost.
  • The location would be on a dead end section of the water distribution system, which would create the need for additional water quality management facilities.  To overcome the resultant water age issues of this location, additional flow control, chemical feed and monitoring equipment would be required.
  • Construction would require variances to residential zoning and height restriction statutes

The Breakfast Hill location had some advantages (including favorable elevation and property owned by Aquarion’s parent company, Eversource).  But it also had substantial disadvantages: 

  • A tank at this location can’t sustain current fire flows at all locations when the Exeter Road Tank is out of service, which is required by the Hampton Fire Department.
  • 700 feet of new pipe would be required to connect the tank to the water distribution system.  Acquisition of pipeline easements may also be required.
  • The location would be on a dead end section of the water distribution system, which would create the need for additional water quality management facilities.  To overcome the resultant water age issues of this location, additional flow control, chemical feed and monitoring equipment would be required.
  • Construction would require variances to residential zoning and height restriction statutes
  • The sloped site would required substantial soil excavation and/or filling.

Water tanks must be taken out of service for preventative maintenance and repairs.  As currently configured, the water distribution system cannot be operated at the required level of reliability nor can the Town of Hampton’s fire protection criteria be met with the existing tank out of service.

The existing tank has functioned in this capacity since its construction in 1982, but now must be taken out of service for a number of months for routine structural rehabilitation and painting.

The existing tank sustains and stabilizes pressure in the water distribution system, and provides fire flow capacity for Hampton and North Hampton.  It cannot be removed from service for any substantial length of time without putting this required level of water service and public safety at risk.

There are three other tanks in the water distribution system that perform similar functions, but they operate at lower elevations than the Exeter Road Tank and therefore cannot provide the required pressure or fire flow throughout the system (see Figure1 below).  These tanks are supported and backed up by the Exeter Road Tank.  However due to being at lower elevations they cannot support or back up the Exeter Road Tank.

storage tank elevations

The old tank will have many years of service life remaining after it is repainted and repaired.  Adding a second tank at this site provides for the ability to take one tank out of service without any changes to system operations or decrease in system reliability.  It will also enhance system redundancy and provide for more opportunities to optimize performance and reduce costs.

The tank was originally built to the engineering and operational standards at that time to meet the system needs of the time and the foreseeable future.  In 1982, the community and water distribution system were both considerably smaller than they are currently.  There were no neighborhoods at the same elevation of the tank, and at the time it would have been possible to take it out of service because pressure and fire flows could be sustained by the other tanks in the system.

However, over the past three decades, the community has experienced robust growth, which the water system has expanded to accommodate.  In addition to sustaining greater demands for domestic and fire protection uses, growth has spread into higher elevations.  This creates a substantially different hydraulic profile than existed in 1982 and prevents the tank from being taken out of service without a backup.

There seems to be no reason why property values would change.  The new tank will be functionally and visually identical to the existing tank, and is a continuation of the existing use of the site.
Yes, all infrastructure improvements impact future rates, which is why Aquarion carefully reviewed alternatives and selected the most cost-effective solution.

Constructing a new tank avoids high costs of the alternative of temporary pumping and control systems.

In the long term, having two tanks at this site provides redundancy and increases flexibility for future maintenance activities.  The ability to take one tank out of service without impacting normal operations allows for lower cost opportunities because work can be scheduled for optimum times and duration.

Compared to other site locations, a second tank here does not require any changes to staffing and other operating costs.

No, the project has no impact or relationship to any current or proposed uses or activities on abutting parcels.
The new tank and final landscaping may block noise emanating from the highway.  Final landscaping is yet to be defined but will be done to minimize noise.
The access road is a public street, owned and maintained by the Town of Hampton.