Hampton Beach Master Plan: Infrastructure and Public Services

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I. Infrastructure and Public Services

This section describes the public services and facilities that serve the Hampton Beach area. The Town of Hampton provides police and sewer services, and uses various properties located west of Ocean Boulevard to provide town services such as police and parking. Both the Town and the Hampton Beach Precinct presently provide fire protection. Private businesses provide water, gas, electric, and telecommunication services.


Town Public Facilities

The Town maintains and operates several facilities in the Hampton Beach area. A police station is located on Brown Avenue. A new station is being planned for the area, and would occupy the same property. The town also owns and operates several parking lots. The largest lot, located on Ashworth Avenue, holds approximately 500 vehicles.

The fire station, located at the corner of Ashworth Avenue and Brown Street, across from the police station, is currently owned and operated by the Hampton Beach Precinct. There is now a discussion, however, that the Town may assume responsibility of this facility.

The combined uses and activities at the Hampton Beach area demand that the police and fire departments provide a safe place for people to live, work, and visit. This following section identifies some of the conditions and safety concerns of these departments.


View of the Fire Station on Ashworth Avenue
View of the Fire Station on Ashworth Avenue
Fire Safety

The Fire Department, which has a station centrally located on Ashworth Avenue provide both fire and limited medical services for the Hampton Beach area and beyond. The Department has the ability to adequately serve the public and address several safety concerns for the Hampton Beach area.

New Fire Station

There are current plans to build a new fire station since the existing one on Ashworth Avenue does not adequately serve the public. However, the Town and the Precinct are presently discussing options since the Precinct owns the building and the three trucks at this station, and the Town pays for wages and the ambulance. When the situation is resolved, it is expected that a modern facility would either replace the existing building, which was built in the 1920s, or be re-located nearby. It should also be noted that research was conducted to consider a combined police and fire dispatch center with personnel in one building, but there were too many challenges to carry these plans forward.

Water Supply

The Hampton Water Works Company supplies water to the Hampton Beach area. There is a 500,000-gallon water storage tank that could service the area in the event of a large fire. Although there is a 12-inch main on Ashworth Avenue, the Department feels that the 6-inch main on Ocean Boulevard should be replaced with a 12-inch pipe.

Insurance Rating

The Town of Hampton is considered an ISO 3 area due to the high density of wooden structures. This rating has important implication regarding insurance rates and the potential for investment by developers. A better rating, such as ISO 1 or 2 would lower insurance premiums.

Medical Facility

There is a small medical room at the fire station that handles about 150 walk-ins per year. EMTs and an ambulance are also available for medical emergencies.


Police Safety

Hampton Police Station
View of the Hampton Police Station

The Hampton Police are in charge of maintaining order and providing safety for the people in the Town of Hampton. They are also responsible for policing Hampton and North Beaches areas. The police station is located at the corner of Ashworth Avenue and Brown Street. Although this is an excellent location for the area, there are sometimes problems accessing areas due to vehicle congestion on the main roads and during the summer and special events.

New Police Station

There are current plans for a new police station. It would be located behind the existing station on Brown Avenue. The existing station is not adequate in size and facilities to serve the needs of the police, especially during the summer when there are large numbers of people.

Focus of Police Efforts in the Hampton Beach Area

The Police Department’s focus for the Hampton Beach area is to maintain a safe environment for all the visitors and residents. A police presence, especially during large events and with large crowds, helps to maintain order. Issues that need constant attention during the summer season include drinking, parking, and noise violations. Off-season issues include domestic abuse and juvenile crime. Although not all of these issues are directly related to the land uses in the area, the types of buildings and businesses affect the activities and actions of people who come and use its resources.


There is a lack of signage to direct people in need of the police to appropriate areas. A resort area should have adequate signage throughout the area for this purpose.


Hampton Beach water tower
Water Supply

Water supply systems are set up in response to the level of demand and services within a geographic area in a town or region. The high seasonal population at Hampton Beach area places an increased demand on water service during the summer. Recent deficits in water supply meeting demands on the Hampton Water Works Company (HWWC) system have led the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (DES) to impose a "new connections moratorium" on substantial new commercial and residential additions to the water system. A review of the Town’s population growth provides some insight to this problem.

The Town of Hampton encompasses approximately 13 square miles and is located in Rockingham County on the seacoast of New Hampshire. The land uses are primarily urban and tidal marsh with large seasonal fluctuations in businesses and visitors. Development in the study area is primarily residential and recreational. The Town has experienced a growth rate of approximately 2.6 percent a year for the last thirty years. Population history is summarized in Table 14.

Table 14 Town of Hampton Population Summary 1970 – 20001



Increase (%)














(1) Based on Town of Hampton Growth Management Oversight Board Annual Report 9/29/2000

Existing Water System

The Hampton Water Works Company (HWWC) supplies potable water to customers in Hampton, North Hampton, and portions of Rye Beach. Table 15 summarizes the Average Day (ADD) Demands on the HWWC system. The Maximum Day Demand (MDD) for 1989 to 1998 varied from 3.69 to 4.99 million gallons per day (mgd). In 1999, it was measured at 5.1 mgd. This occurred during the summer weekends when visitors outnumber residents over 10 to 1.

Current demand in the Hampton Beach area ranges from approximately 0.3 to 0.5 mgd during the off-season (October to April) to 0.75 to 1.0 mgd during a peak summer weekend. The transient, day-trippers, to the beach do not have a major impact on the water system as, other than an occasional trip to a public bathroom.


Table 15. HWWC Water System Demand


ADD (mgd)

% of Total ADD










Other: Schools, Municipal






Unaccounted for Water






Source: HWWC Integrated Resource Plan – Demand Summary 1989 – 1998.

Water Supply

Water is obtained from 14 wells located throughout the service area as summarized on Table 16. Four wells are deep bedrock over 380 feet deep below the surface. Ten wells are relatively shallow and developed in gravel formations. All wells have been determined to be groundwater not under the influence of surface water. The DES imposed the moratorium restricting approvals for significant new water connections on April 7, 1995 due to a source of supply deficit. With new supply added to the system in 1997 (well #16) and 1998 (wells #17, 18, and 19), the moratorium was briefly lifted from February to December 1999, and then reimposed due to the drought during the summer of 1999.

As it stands, HWWC can supply new service to pre-approved projects and "in-fill" the systems they already serve. However, new expansion of the system is not permitted. For example, they cannot, at this time, commit to serving the domestic water needs of new subdivisions; they can serve them with fire protection. Then, when the moratorium is lifted, water connections to the new properties would be allowed. As it currently stands, this moratorium should not have an impact on the Hampton Beach Planning process as the area is almost entirely developed and new connections would probably be unnecessary. Re-development would probably only replace existing development, and even new development with more units, such as a hotel, might place less of burden on the water system because the plumbing, faucets and fixtures would most likely be lower-flow models that use substantially less water than old fixtures do.


Table 16. HWWC Well Summary - Million Gallons a Day (mgd) (1)

Well #


Peak Well Capacity (mgd)

Estimated 1999 Sustained Yield (mgd)


18" gravel


0.10 – 0.14


18" gravel




24" gravel




25" gravel




24" gravel




18" gravel




24" gravel




12" gravel




12" bedrock




24" gravel


0.05 (2)


18" gravel



17, 18, and 19

8" bedrock

0.17 (#17), 0.22 (#18), 0.29 (#19)

0.35 (3)

  1. All wells discharge into the Main Pressure District except for Well #5 which discharges into the Rye Beach Pressure District at the Jenness Beach Tank.
  2. Well capacity limited to 0.05 mgd with the well operating only for 12 hours per day.
  3. The three wells operate on an alternating basis.


The 14 wells have an estimated yield of 4.4 mgd that exceeds the 2000 Maximum Day Demand (MDD) of 4.31 mgd but is less then the 1999 MDD of 5.1 mgd. The entire well network has a maximum projected capacity of 6.40 mgd under optimum, groundwater recharge conditions. This capacity is capable of meeting projected demands under average conditions. However, during the extreme dry weather in 1999 certain wells were not able to sustain previously estimated production rates.

HWWC is currently undertaking a comprehensive review and analysis of the hydrogeologic conditions of their existing wells as part of their Aquifer Management Program. The intent is to better understand the history and ability of water delivery for their 14 existing wells so they can optimize their ability to deliver water during dry conditions. They are assembling an operations manual to guide them throughout the year to meet the objectives of this program and they use a computer SCADA System to monitor conditions in real time on a daily basis. They have also instituted a Water Supply Update that is issued to local officials and news media twice a month to update them on the status of water system conditions, demands and their ability to meet those demands. The intent is to inform the public before any water emergency or water restrictions that may occur, and trends toward or away from implementing them.

Additionally, HWWC is addressing the moratorium by these approaches:

  • Investigating and potentially acquiring sites for new wells
  • Investigating the potential for desalination, either as a peaking, summertime, source or as a larger, regional facility
  • Continuing work with the Town of Hampton to investigate the possibility of using the treated effluent from their wastewater plant to recharge some of the well sites
  • Pursuing interconnections with other water systems in the area (Exeter, Portsmouth, Rye) for emergency backup and possible regionalization. There is currently one interconnection with the Town of Seabrook on-line that allows for an additional 250 gallons per minute (gpm).


Water Quality

Water produced from the wells is of good quality. It requires only moderate treatment with chlorination for disinfection, and pH adjustment and corrosion control as needed.

HWWC has a wellhead protection program. The Hampton Zoning Board of Adjustment has created an Aquifer Protection district to limit the impact of development. Lot sizes and dwelling area requirements are increased to control the quantity of new developments. In addition, the impervious area per lot is limited to promote infiltration that recharges the water supply aquifer.

Radon levels in all wells may exceed the EPA Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) of 300 pCi/L once the rule is promulgated. However, the rule may require Multi-Media-Mitigation that will set the MCL at 4000 pCi/L. HWWC has plans for construction of aeration facilities to reduce radon levels if required by future radon regulations, dictating treatment of the HWWC wells.

System Monitoring and Control

HWWC operates nine treatment stations that are unmanned, but visited by an operator during daily operation. A radio-based Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition System (SCADA) operates and monitors pressure, flow, and water elevations for all wells, pumps, pressure reducing valves, tanks, chemical feed systems, and some valves. The SCADA system is expandable and is located in the distribution building near Well No. 8. This system was put on line in the mid-1990’s and has been expanded each of the following years. A final upgrade, which is planned for 2001, will optimize the systems efficiencies and ability to comprehensively monitor the system in real time.

Distribution and Storage

The HWWC distribution system consists of approximately 135 miles of water main ranging from 1 to 16 inches in diameter. The water system at the beach area is a mix of original cast iron water main, installed in the early 1900’s, asbestos cement, and ductile iron main. Good water flows were evidenced by the system’s ability to deliver approximately 3,000 to 3,500 gpm during the Old Salt fire in June 1999.

The system has two booster stations and four distribution storage tanks. Table 17 provides a summary of the storage facilities. The total system storage, 2.06 million gallons, is adequate to meet the current peak hour equalization and fire reserve needs. The system is divided into three pressure zones: Main Service gradient, Rye Beach Low Service gradient, and Hampton Beach Low Service gradient. There is a fire booster pump located at the Rye Jenness Beach tank capable of pumping 2,500 gpm. The company holds land for a fifth tank, located in North Hampton, for future construction.

Table 17. HWWC Storage Tank Summary


Pressure District

Year Built




Diameter (FT)


Overflow Elevation, ft (USGS)

Exeter Road








Mill Road








Jenness Beach

Rye Beach







Glade Path

Hampton Beach








Wastewater System

Wastewater Treatment Plant

The Hampton Wastewater Treatment Plant is an activated sludge treatment facility presently permitted for 2.5 mgd with a discharge to the Tide Mill Creek (see Figure 25). The Town imposed a moratorium for sewer extensions effective October 1, 1999. This plant is undergoing short-term upgrades to increase capacity to 3.0 mgd. Improvements are expected to increase the capacity to 4.5 mgd, but will not be complete before June 2001.

The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit expired on October 22, 1999, and was certified by NHDES on January 19, 2001. The expired permit required limits for copper and ammonia. NHDES water quality standards adopted in December 1999 would call for more stringent limits for these parameters. Tide Mill Creek appears to offer little to no dilution, making it difficult to meet the stricter limits. The existing plant treatment process is unlikely to meet any more stringent limits. Therefore, the plant would need to significantly improve the treatment process and/or possibly relocate the outfall pipe to achieve more dilution. Water supply corrosion control is one measure that can be considered to aid in meeting the anticipated structure limits.


Hampton Beach Area Collection System

The existing collection system within the study area consists of pipes ranging from 6 to 12 inches. The system is installed in roads, under buildings, and through private property. To the best of our knowledge, there are no stormwater drains connected to this system according to its design.

Figure 25. Location of Outfall Pipe at Tide Mill Creek

Location of Outfall Pipe at Tide Mill Creek

The collection system discharges to the Church Street Pump Station. The station has three 2,000 gallon per minute pumps which convey the flows to the WWTP.

Since hydraulic capacity is limited within the system, the town periodically flushes out the system to dislodge obstructions and debris. Another typical measure to increase capacity is to reduce the amount of Inflow and Infiltration (I/I) to the system. I/I is water that enters the system from cracks in the pipes and other sources, and is not intended to contribute to the system. Substantial amounts of I/I may burden the wastewater collection system, reduce its efficiency, and increase operational costs. To date, no I/I studies have been conducted, but should be considered.

Storm Water Drainage

The Hampton Beach area storm drainage system is a separate storm sewer system according to the Town’s maps. The predominance of the runoff discharges into the tidal wetlands on the west side (or backside) of the main beaches. Increased amounts of impervious surfaces, such as driveways, roofs, and roads, have exacerbated flooding. Drains have been added to the system over the past 100 years due to increased development near the low-lying wetlands and the need to displace surface water.

Several stormwater devices are located on Ancient Highway and at Haverhill Street. There are also regularly spaced storm surge tide gates along the beach seawall and associated catch basins for 18th Street to the intersection of Dumas Avenue.

Flooding in the Hampton Beach area occurs for two reasons:

  1. High tides caused by storm and lunar events
  2. Runoff from rainstorms that collects in low areas which have been covered with high amounts of impervious surfaces such as parking lots, roads, driveways, and buildings.

Most of the areas that flood usually are located near wetlands and do not have a means to discharge runoff water that collects from the surrounding areas. The recommendations section describes flood mitigation measures for the Hampton Beach area.




Baystate Gas and Northern Utilities Company provide gas service to the project area. Some of this service area is presently being monitored because it has limited capacity to increase loads or add new services. Hampton Beach has been serviced by gas since the early 1960s.



Electric service is provided to users in the project area by Exeter and Hampton Electric Company (Unitil). Current and peak service meets user demands and loads. There is sufficient capacity to support additional loads over the next several years based on current trends. The system substation, located on Church Street next to the water tower, has one 13,000-volt circuit and three 2,400-volt circuits.

The distribution of electricity within the project area is above ground except for the boulevard area that has an underground street lighting system. The Town and the State are responsible for any upgrades to this lighting system.



The Hampton Beach area is serviced by Verizon telephone company. They have a mixture of approximately 15 old and new sub-networks that support the area.

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