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New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services

NHDES Time Line
Environmental Laws & Activities over the Years
New Hampshire & NHDES Year Nationwide & Federal Gov’t
  1970 First Earth Day, April 22
  1970 Clean Air Act enacted
Winnipesaukee River Basin Project established under RSA 147-G 1972 Federal Water Pollution Control Amendment of 1972
  1974 Safe Drinking Water Act enacted
  1976 Passage of the Toxic Substance Control Act
  1976 Resource Conservation & Recovery Act (RCRA)
  1977 Clean Water Act enacted; major amendments to the Federal Water Pollution Control Amendment of 1972
Franklin wastewater treatment facility began operations 1979  
Septic system installers & designers require licensure 1980 Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation & Liability Act (CERCLA), also called "Superfund, enacted
Solid Waste Management Act 1981  
Hazardous Waste Management Act 1981  
All water well contractors licensed & water wells inventoried 1983  
Volunteer Lake Assessment Program founded 1985  
RSA 21-O passed, consolidating several state agencies into a newly created NHDES 1986 Safe Drinking Water Act Amendment of 1986
January 1 – NHDES becomes a state department. Alden Howard, commissioner. Four divisions: Air Resources, Waste Management, Water Resources, & Water Supply Pollution Control   Water Quality Act of 1987; amendments to the Clean Water Act
Wetlands Board administratively attached to NHDES    
Rivers Program created    
Weed Watchers Program started    
Legislation passed protecting shorelands    
Oil Discharge & Disposal Cleanup Fund (ODD Fund) established    
Commissioner Howard retires    
Two Superfund sites added; 15 total in state    
Waste Management Div. reorganizes    
Bob Varney appointed commissioner    
Major municipal recycling initiative launched    
Asbestos Rules adopted, July 1    
“A Banner Year for Solid Waste Management”
  • Planning & Community Assistance Section added
  • Household hazardous waste collections
  • Recycling efforts gain momentum
  • Hunt tire pile fire in Danville
  • Increased number of permitted, lined municipal landfills constructed
  • SW operator training & certification
Wellhead Protection Program begins    
Drought Plan Released   Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990
Acid Precipitation Control Act passed, Nov.   Ozone Transport Commission formed
State Revolving Loan Fund program initiated    
First Shoreland Protection Act passed    
Senate bill passed establishing a study committee for expedited environmental permit process    
Groundwater Protection Act enacted    
Air toxic releases dropped 37% in one year    
Stage II vapor recovery equip. required in southern/central NH    
Underground storage tank program receives full authorization; only 3rd one in nation.    
“33/50” pollution prevention incentive grants available for NH businesses    
Interactive Lake Ecology book first published    
Portsmouth completes major wastewater treatment upgrade at Pierce Island    
NHDES awarded “P2 Incentives for States” competitive grant, which was used to create the NH P2 Program    
NHDES publishes comprehensive “Guidebook for Environmental Permits in NH”    
NHDES implements a departmental GIS system    
Full-time Lakes Coordinator hired    
NH adopts enhanced auto emission testing (committed to Clean Air Act)   US Army Corp of Engineers endorses NHDES’s Wetlands Program
Youth Camp Rules updated    
Gunstock Sewer Connector added to WRBP    
Stage I & II gasoline vapor recovery systems expanded to reduce ground-level ozone    
Robert Varney becomes new commissioner    
3 State funds created for reimbursing cleanup costs of petroleum spills    
WMD identifies buried asbestos sites in Nashua & Hudson for clean up.    
New aquifer mapping program approved    
First NHDES Strategic Plan unveiled    
NHDES-UNH P2 Intern Partnership formed    
Sludge/biosolids hot topics    
Nearly $7 million in new state water pollution control grants awarded to 18 cities & towns    
NH shows dramatic improvement in river water quality    
State grant program created for municipal unlined landfill closures    
Comprehensive Shoreland Protection Act beefed-up.   NH 1 of 4 states in US to receive federal recognition for its comprehensive groundwater protection
Comparative Risk Project    
New NOx RACT Rule helps protect air quality    
NHDES Ombudsman position created for Small Business Technical Assistance Program    
NH/NHDES receives authorization from EPA to implement its municipal solid waste landfill permitting program and its hazardous waste program, which includes oversight of non-Superfund sites    
Wetlands Board & Wetlands Bureau offices move to 29 Hazen Drive.    
First Annual P2 Awards presented    
NHDES selected to lead regional effort on environmental technology    
State begins funding of municipal DIY used oil collections    
Innovative hazardous waste inspection program draws national and regional attention    
NHDES adopts new Title V Rules to meet Clean Air Act requirements    
Green Team formed; leading by example    
NH & Maine work jointly with paper mills to check pollution at the source    
Air Resources launches Ozone hotline    
New State grant monies to close landfills    
NHDES launches Web site.    
53 public water systems receive $17 million   SDWA Amendments of 1996
State adopts temporary sludge rules    
Lakes management criteria for NH State Agencies    
Dam breach in Alton    
NHDES Coastal Region offices consolidate at Pease    
Beede Waste Oil added to NPL list    
Programs from Water Resources and Water Supply & Pollution Control divisions merge as the Water Division; Groundwater Protection Bureau moves to Waste Management Division   National Dam Safety Act of 1996
New Air Rules establish key trading & banking activities under state’s emissions reduction   Federal Safe Drinking Water Act reauthorized
State’s 1st permanent household hazardous waste collection center opens   Federal funding allows completion of Johns-Mansville asbestos cleanup
Lamprey River receives federal “Wild & Scenic” designation    
Brownfields established    
All NHDES statutes amended to eliminate references to specific divisions    
Solid Waste Rules recodified    
Dam Safety Rules revised   EPA finalizes new standards for ozone & particulate matter
NHDES website grows    
State focuses on solid waste capacity & management issues    
Shoreland Protection Administrative Rules adopted    
NHDES releases report, “Regulatory Barriers to the Implementation of Innovative Environmental Technologies”    
NH joins with other Northeastern states petitioning EPA to crackdown on ozone polluters   NHDES & EPA enter into Performance Partnership
NHDES takes active role in global climate change    
NH & Vt. governors sign agreement with NE Power Co./15 Mile Falls hydroplant to protect Upper Conn. River Watershed    
Ken Colburn, NHDES, attends Kyoto conference   Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change
Volunteer River Assessment Program formed    
January ice storm leaves 140 towns needing disaster assistance    
Savage Well Superfund site undergoes major remedial work   EPA & Dept. of Agriculture initiate new national Clean Water Action Plan
Project WET launched    
Mid-year, over 700 UST tanks still needed to come into compliance by December    
NHDES purchases rare ecosystem in Litchfield    
Boscawen tannery cleanup begins    
Real-time data access for Winnipesaukee River & Lake    
Legislation passed:
  • Bans lead sinkers & jigs
  • Amends septage laws
  • Tightens groundwater withdrawals
  • Creates conservation “moose” plate
  • Establishes Enhanced Safety Inspection Program
  VP Al Gore comes to NH to announce additional federal monies for Seacoast
State-of-the-art wastewater treatment facility dedicated in North Conway    
NH signs EMS pilot project agreement; ISO 14000 hot topic    
New grant initiatives to protect drinking water sources    
Mercury Reduction Strategy released in Oct.   New England Governors & Eastern Canadian Premiers adopt mercury & acid rain initiatives
Statewide survey conducted to research malformities in frogs   Conn. River designated an “American Heritage River”; 1 of 14 nationwide
MtBE in drinking water becomes hot topic    
13,855 USTs removed in NH by nationwide UST deadline = 96% success    
NHDES launches OneStop data retrieval website   Buenos Aires conference on Climate Change
State adds electric vehicles to fleet    
NHDES begins preparations for Y2K    
New motor vehicle salvage facility initiative launched    
New universal waste policy    
State adopts new sludge rules    
NHDES Water Division reorganizes    
State receives $1.45 million Brownfields grant    
P2 program works with NH Hospital Assoc. to reduce mercury in health care facilities   US Coast Guard & NHDES sign coastal oil spill response MOA
Governor creates 2 environmental task forces: mercury reduction & solid waste management   NH & Vt. join Syracuse U. & US Fish & Wildlife in study of mercury in fish
Governor seeks waiver from federal MtBE requirements    
NHDES adopts rules to permit breakwaters on NH lakes    
Greenhouse Gas Reduction Registry established for NH companies    
NHDES initiates new ambient air toxics measurement program   Ozone negotiations fail among Northeast, Midwest & southeast states
NHDES consolidates Concord offices to Hazen Dr.    
Land Resources Management Program created under the Water Division    
Shellfish Program transferred to NHDES from Health & Human Services    
TMDL regulations hot topic    
Nonpoint Source Management Plan wins EPA approval    
NHDES proposes stringent MtBE limits    
NH 3rd state to gain formal approval of drinking water source assessment program    
NH leads Northeast & Mid-Atlantic states in reducing NOx emissions    
State joins lawsuit against Midwest power plants    
NHDES & Wheelabrator launch mercury thermometer exchange program   US Sen. Smith hosts environmental forum in NH
NH 1st to ban the sale of mercury fever thermometers & mercury in novelty goods    
NHDES finalizes Compliance Assurance Response Policy    
Land Conservation and Historic Preservation Program created    
New web design for    
Governor announces Clean Power Strategy    
State launches private well testing initiative    
NH adopts tighter arsenic levels in drinking water   Federal gov’t tightens arsenic levels in drinking water
NHDES issues Dioxin Reduction Strategy; 1st in nation    
Governor issues executive order on MtBE    
Airborne mercury dramatically reduced following Wheelabrator thermometer exchange    
Varney leaves NHDES for EPA    
Dana Bisbee becomes acting commissioner    
Marine engine initiative successful    
McGoldrick Dam on the Ashuelot removed; 1st dam in NH removed to improve water quality    
Large groundwater withdrawal rules adopted    
State’s largest newspapers conclude 10-year recycling initiative; rate goes from 6% to 33%    
NH Geological Survey formally recognized    
Green Lodging Initiative begun    
School bus anti-idling project launched    
Drought emergency declared, Spring 2002    
Nationwide effort, “Sustainable Slopes,” is launched in NH    
New Water Supply Capacity Program    
Lake Host Program begins    
Governor signs Clean Power Act    
Gilson Road Superfund cleanup completed    
State adopts tighter arsenic level for drinking water   30th anniversary of Clean Water Act
Report published on Frog Survey    
Winchester Dam removed; 2nd in state    
State launches Clean Cities coalition    
Hampton Beach 1 of 10 flagship beaches nationwide   EPA launches Clean New England Beach Initiative
Pack Monadnock air monitoring station opens   Granite State Clean Cities Coalition designated by the US Dept. of Energy
Jan. 1, residential trash burning banned    
New laboratory wing built    
Hazardous Waste Coordinator Certification Program started    
NH joins suit against EPA on Clean Air Standards    
NHDES assists municipalities in meeting EPA storm water permit requirements    
NH Green Yards Program begins    
NHDES receives national award for Dioxin Strategy    
Old Man of the Mountain falls!    
Mike Nolin named new NHDES commissioner    
Michael Nolin becomes commissioner    
NHDES takes role in Homeland Security plans    
Troy Mills landfill added to the NPL List    
State sues major oil companies over MtBE pollution    
Hazardous Waste Management Self-certification Program begins    
Hazardous Waste Coordinator Certification program started    
New NHDES website design unveiled    
Alternative fuel use gains momentum in NH    
US Sen. Gregg gets $1.09 million for milfoil    
1 million gallons of DIY used oil collected in NH since program began    
PrintSTEP program for commercial printers launched    
Air transport report unveiled    
Programs from other agencies transferred to NHDES: Coastal, Asbestos, Environmental & Occupational Health.    
NHDES adopts new air permit fee system    
“Green” Paint Program    
State issues permit to PSNH for new wood-fired boiler    
Environmental Health Tracking Program    
Hazardous Waste Small Quantity Generator Self-Certification program started    
SRCIS, new response section created    
“Watershed Approach” new pilot program    
State joins Energy Star 10% Challenge    
Fish Advisory published    
VLAP celebrates 20 years    
Perchlorate emerges as potential chemical of concern    
Real-time info for Winnipesaukee River watershed    
Hampton-Seabrook Harbor dredging project    
State clamps down on toxics in packaging    
Pharmaceuticals & personal care products in water a growing concern    
NHDES rules reorganized    
Former Chloro-Alkali facility added to National Priorities List (Superfund)    
100,000th record added to the state’s Water Well Inventory    
Unique pet waste outreach project a success    
Coastal waters designated “No Discharge Area”    
Fall floods!    
State participates in Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative – Dec. 2005    
Green Slopes Initiative    
NHDES joins team to investigate meth labs    
Agreement reached on mercury emissions from state’s coal-fired plants    
NHDES 1st state agency to complete GIS work    
Planning, Prevention & Assistance Unit established    
NHDES teams up with NH Fish & Game on Discover WILD NH Day    
P2 Program awarded “Hospitals for a Healthy Environment” Award 2 years in a row    
First group of certified Green Yards recognized    
NHDES Shellfish Program funded    
Mothers Day floods!    
1st state-owned biodiesel station opens    
Brownfields Program celebrates 10 years    
Ammonoosuc River protected under RMPP    
Tom Burack confirmed as new NHDES commissioner    
Contaminated Site Rules revised    
TrueValue & NHDES partner on free lamp recycling    
Aquatic Resource Mitigation (ARM) Fund established    
WRBP presented with EPA national Award of Excellence    
NHDES receives grant to clarify mercury and fish consumption message    
Governor sets energy goals: “25 x 25”    
Gulf of Maine Council releases new action plan    
NHDES/DOT look for solutions to salt in impaired I-93 waterbodies    
April floods!    
NHDES issues report on air quality in Suncook Village    
NHDES Wastewater Engineering Bureau receives national EPA Award for Technical Assistance    
Northeast states develop plan to lower mercury levels in fish    
Comprehensive Guide for Innovative Land Use Planning    
Environmental Leadership Initiative launched    
Pay As You Throw addresses solid waste issues    
Water Supply & Engineering Bureau changes name to Drinking Water & Groundwater Bureau    
ExxonMobil settles with state for more than $2.04 million for reimbursement to the Oil Discharge and Disposal Cleanup Fund    
State bans burning of construction & demolition wastes    
State bans disposal of TVs & computers in landfills    
State awards $2 million in EPA Brownfields grants    
CSPA amended to include new shoreland impact permitting process    
NHDES partners with EPA’s WaterSense Program    
Rock Snot – new exotic aquatic species threat    
Climate Change Task Force announced    
Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative moves forward    
State joins largest Clean Air settlement    
NHDES launches Partners Program    
New Shoreland Rules, April 1    
Statewide Water & Wastewater Agency Response Network (WARN); emergency cooperative for municipal and state agencies    
USGS releases statewide MtBE study   Federal agreement ensures long-term protection of the Troy Mills Landfill site
Statewide mercury in freshwater fish consumption advisory updated    
Protected in stream flows for the Souhegan River    
VLAP receives EPA Merit Award    
New NHDES pumpout boat for the coast    
Governor signs law joining Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative    
20 yrs.: Rivers Management & Protection Program    
CSPA amended to include new shoreland impact permitting process    
NHDES Strategic Plan launched    
NHDES awarded $200,000 EPA petroleum brownfields grant    
FEMA issues final report on flooding events    
Municipal EcoLink newsletter published    
Hampton Beach ranks one of nation’s cleanest    
NHDES website totally revamped    
NH Water Resources Primer published    
Manchester completes major wastewater treatment upgrade on West Side    
New AoT Rules go into effect Jan. 1    
New model ordinance to prevent storm damage released    
New Aquatic Resource Mitigation proves effect    
NHDES administers ARRA funding for drinking water, clean water, diesel emission reduction, and brownfields projects around the state   American Recovery & Reinvestment Act funding made available
NH Stormwater Manual released    
Tidal Energy Commission releases final findings    
NHDES & Home Builders Assocation sign agreement    
NH Climate Action Plan released    
New Youth Camp Rules in effect    
“Green” parking lot pilot project    
Innovative Permitting Initiative launched    
Environmental Public Health Tracking Program    
NHDES joins others in public outreach efforts on safely disposing of unwanted medications    
Nashua completes $27 million wastewater treatment upgrade    
OneStop database site unveils major upgrade    
NH part of regional initiative to look at low carbon fuels    
Efforts to protect groundwater from rock blasting   EPA proposes stricter smog standards
NHDES participates in “Spill of National Significance” 2010    
New Candidate School for wastewater operators    
State helps to create the regional “Transportation and Climate Initiative”    
NHDES adopts Lean problem-solving process    
New Stream Crossing Rules    
Londonderry air monitoring station begins operating    
New requirements for VOC and greenhouse gas emissions    
NHDES releases 2010-2015 Strategic Plan    
NHDES submits revised regional haze plan    
Hooksett wastewater treatment disks release    
Legislative Stormwater Commission completes final report    
Hydrography dataset updated for NH    
NHDES staffing levels downsized    
Some NHDES programs temporarily suspended    
NHDES water quality lab transferred to DHHS    
The NH Homeowners’ Guide to Stormwater Management published    
State-owned buildings reduce energy use by 16%/sq.ft. since 2005    
NHDES icon Jody Connor passes away    
State’s coastal beaches: 1st in the Nation in water quality by NRDC   2008 ozone standard revised & reaffirmed
Tropical storm Irene wreaks havoc in state    
Comprehensive Shoreland Protection Act changed to Shoreland Water Quality Protection Act   New federal Boiler Rule
January 1 – NHDES celebrates 25th Anniversary!    

NH Department of Environmental Services | 29 Hazen Drive | PO Box 95 | Concord, NH 03302-0095
(603) 271-3503 | TDD Access: Relay NH 1-800-735-2964 | Hours: M-F, 8am-4pm

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