The defense strategy starts to unfold

Yesterday, attorneys for defendants Wright-Pierce filed a response to Wolfeboro’s motion to amend to include allegations of fraud.  Unlike their objection to the initial denied motion, they have included some substantial new elements of their case.

You will recall that the town maintains that the RIB was permitted for 600,000 gallons per day (gpd) average and that average is a monthly average.  Specifically they maintain that if they pumped a total of say 600,000 x 30 = 18,000,000 gallons in a 30 day month, then they would be in compliance, even if that meant pumping 1,800,000 for ten days and nothing for 20.

WP has pointed out that they specified in their Phase 3 hydrogeological report that the RIB should be loaded no more than 600,000 gallons in any given day.  They also show that they clarified that with NH DES prior to the startup and so informed the town.

This blog had been focusing on the high initial flows of around 800,000 gpd for the first several weeks in March.  But in the WP response  (page 7), they cite the field logs maintained by Woodward & Curran, which they say indicate flow rates of well over a million gallons per day, and as high as 1.9 million gpd in the early weeks of April leading up to the first “unexpected event” aka breakout of the side of the hill.  Those flow rates are not reported in the town’s report to NHDES.  Presumably the town has a different interpretation of the field logs.

Moreover, although the town maintains that they operated the RIB in compliance with the permit and within the operating parameters as they understood them, WP is presenting an email from Mr. Ford to WP dated May 7 where he states:

Based on info I have now it appears the Town under my direction overloaded the RIB’s during the period from 3-4 to 3-25, during the spring, with high ground water and snow melt, a most likely bad combination.

A further development is that WP says that they recommended keeping the flow to 600,000 gpd “until after the system has been operating for some time and new data has been collected to confirm the model results”.  That seems to be consistent with the simulation consultant’s [denied] request for additional monitoring wells and his attempts to calibrate the model after startup.

All this in addition to more procedural objections, most notably that it took our attorney’s four months to examine the emails that are the basis for the claim, and that this motion comes five months after the deadline for filing amendments to the complaint.

Our attorney’s have filed a notice that they intend to respond to this response (cha-ching).  It would be refreshing to see them answer the assertions of WP that the Town overloaded and broke the system.  Because it sure looks like WP has their ducks in a row and intend to vigorously defend their reputation.

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