DANVILLE, N.H. -- A dispute among neighbors has escalated to the point where some people are literally seeing red.
David LaPlume, who owns property next door to Wanda and Charles Cote, placed a dye packet in a pond that is partly on the Cotes’ land. The idea was to turn the water red to prove some of it is draining onto his property.
The dye can be seen by ultraviolet light at night, LaPlume said.
Wanda Cote said her husband noticed the dyed water on Monday.
As a result, she said, she had to move her horses to her backyard from her pasture, where they drank water that flowed from the pond.
“With the red dye in it, we don’t know if it’s toxic or not,” Cote said.
The Cotes are taking care of three horses for their daughter, who is serving in the military overseas, Wanda Cote said.
She’s since called the state Department of Environmental Services and Danville police.
Danville police Chief Wade Parsons declined to comment because the incident is under investigation.
DES officials talked to LaPlume about the dye he used, DES spokesman James Martin said.
Based on what LaPlume told DES officials, Martin said, the dye is not toxic.
“At the moment, I don’t believe we are going to be doing any testing,” Martin said.
Dyes like the one LaPlume dropped into the pond are commonly used by municipalities to track illicit discharges into storm drains, Martin said.
“This is not considered to be a water quality violation,” he said.
By Thursday, the blood red tint of the pond was already beginning to fade, although the water was still discolored.
LaPlume was simply trying to prove a point, he said.
Water drains from the pond — which is split between the Cotes’ property and a third neighbor’s — through an underground pipe.
That pipe leads to a pasture on the Cotes land, where the three horses were allowed to drink it — before the pond was dyed red.
LaPlume said he wanted to prove water from the pond was also spilling onto his land through the underground pipe.
LaPlume does not live on Cote Drive, but he does own a house there that he rents to tenants. He can’t built anything else on the property because the ground flooding regularly, he said.
“It’s frustrating, is what it is,” LaPlume said.
The fact that a pipe from the pond discharges some water onto LaPlume’s property is just about the only thing the neighbors can agree on.
Since LaPlume bought a 6-acre parcel from the estate of a Cote relative about two years ago, he said he’s had issues with the Cotes, from the Cotes’ dogs to a manure pile.
“He doesn’t like having the horses next door to him,” Wanda Cote said, “but we’ve had horses for here for 30-something years.”
The Cotes never tried to hide the fact that the pipe sometimes spills water onto LaPlume’s property, Wanda Cote said.
“There’s nothing I can do about it,” Cote said. “He knew that (when) buying the property.”
Wanda Cote says the pipe was installed about 30 years ago by her father-in-law to keep a nearby building on her property from flooding.
LaPlume has argued the pipe was installed illegally and more recently.
Despite calls to state and town officials, nobody will follow up with him, LaPlume said.
“Nobody does anything,” he said. “There’s nobody else to call.”
LaPlume said he knew about the pond when he bought the property, but nobody told him about the pipe
For now, LaPlume said he is waiting until red dye shows up on his property so he can prove to DES officials that pond water is creating a problem for him.
Wanda Cote, meanwhile, said she is contacting a lawyer to get LaPlume to pay for any cleanup costs.
James Niedzinski writes for the Eagle-Tribune in North Andover, Mass.
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