The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) has granted The Balsams, the venerable Dixville, N.H .resort, a Water Quality Certificate (WQC) under Section 401 of the federal Clean Water Act. The certificate grants The Balsams permission to withdraw water from the Androscoggin River for snowmaking at what is projected to become the largest ski resort in the northeastern United States.
In addition to receiving this critical permit, The Balsams recently surpassed more than 150 reservations from people wishing to purchase Balsams Century Club property.
“Our vision is to redevelop The Balsams into a true, year-round destination resort, which includes a major expansion of The Balsams Wilderness Ski Area,” said Les Otten, who is leading the redevelopment team. “We plan to install the latest snowmaking technology to augment Dixville’s abundant natural snow, so receiving this permit is an important step forward.”
The WQC will allow The Balsams to withdraw Androscoggin River water and transport it approximately nine miles via underground pipe to Dixville for snowmaking activities between October 15 and March 15. The permit also allows withdrawals for fire suppression activities, if needed.
In its responses to comments submitted during the permit review process, NHDES states about the proposed withdrawals, “…DES does not believe it will significantly impact operation of the hydroelectric facilities on the river or the permit limits for the municipal wastewater treatment facilities in Berlin and Gorham, New Hampshire.”
Since the river is heavily used for industry and recreation, its flow is monitored in real time by several gauges, including a U.S. Geological Survey gauge in Errol that has been providing flow data for more than 100 years.