While both the city of Portsmouth and the Village of New Boston wait for the certification of their individual portions of the flood defense levee, New Boston Village Administrator Steve Hamilton says the relationship between the two entities goes a lot deeper than just the levee project. Hamilton elaborated during a recent conversation on the current status of the village’s Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) project.
“Not just working with this mayor and council, but Mr. (Portsmouth Wastewater Director Rick) Duncan has helped out too,” Hamilton told the Daily Times. “And I’ve done the same for them because they (Portsmouth) treat our sewage, but when we need help, they come and help us, and when they need something we go and help them.”
Hamilton talked about the relationship between the two communities.
“Yes, there is a corporation line, but I don’t see it that way, because we’ve got a lot of people that we go to sometimes when we need help, and when they need it they know they can call and we’ll do whatever we can to help them,” Hamilton said.
Duncan also said the work has been reciprocal.
“We have been working very closely together,” Duncan said. “I’ve helped them out on a few projects and we are just trying to keep a good relationship with them (New Boston).”
The levee certification is still something both communities have been waiting on and Hamilton, like Duncan, believes that the certification is coming.
“I just got the word from AMEC that all of our stuff’s in and they are looking at it at FEMA and hoping to get something back from them,” Hamilton said. “I don’t know where Portsmouth is at this time but I know that they’re working real hard to get everything they need to get done to get to FEMA. I can’t speak for them for certification but, the conversations I’ve had with some management people they’re getting to FEMA everything they have to have.”
Both Duncan and Hamilton have been clear as to how the process works. The filing for certification in its final form is a huge binder loaded with paperwork covering what the government entities hope is everything required, However, after all that work, FEMA might require more in-depth explanations.
“You might send stuff to them and they might say, ‘we want something else,’” Hamilton said. “We both signed PAL (Provisionally Accredited Levee) Agreements back in 2010 and that was to get the certification done.”
“They had one final clarification they wanted and I just sent that into them and I’m waiting to hear back from them,” Duncan said. “Everything was done except for one thing, some plans that they wanted copies of that they just needed an explanation for.”
Hamilton said village officials got to working on the certification and thought they were done, and at the same time Portsmouth officials busied themselves with the same process though, because of size, they had a little more to do. The first thing that had to be done was the city of Portsmouth installing some wells. Then there was the collapsed line in the area of OSCO Industries. New Boston had two pumps at their pump station go out. Those were the extenuating circumstances that occur in the midst of the filing for certification.
“It has not been them or us stopping us,” Hamilton said. “It’s just that stuff has happened through the years, that it has been out of their hands and it has been out of our hands, but we want to be certified.”
“We’re getting real close and there’s nothing major outstanding, just one thing I believe,” Duncan said.
Hamilton said it is important for people in the community to know what has been the driving force behind the entire effort. He said the late Mayor Jim Warren, current Mayor Junior Williams and Village Council have had one motive.
“The Council members I remember said, it’s the safety of the public to get certified,” Hamilton said. “And that came first to all of them. It came first to Mayor Warren and it came first to me.”
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.