Aquifer Protection Area Program
Connecticut’s Aquifer Protection Area Program protects major public water supply wells in sand and gravel aquifers to ensure a plentiful supply of public drinking water for present and future generations. Aquifer Protection Areas (sometimes referred to as “wellhead protection areas”) are being designated around the state’s 127 active well fields in 80 Towns in sand and gravel aquifers that serve more than 1000 people. Land use regulations will be established in those areas to minimize the potential for contamination of the well field. The regulations restrict development of certain new land use activities that use, store, handle or dispose of hazardous materials and requires existing regulated land uses to register and follow best management practices.
The Aquifer Protection Area Program responsibilities are shared by the state DEEP, the municipalities and the water companies.
DEEP is responsible for overall program administration, establishing state land use regulations and standards, approving aquifer protection area maps and local regulations, and developing guidance materials. In addition to program administration, DEEP:
- assists municipal aquifer protection agencies with implementation
- provides training for the local officials and aquifer protection agency members
- directly regulate major facilities, state facilities and public service companies (utilities) located within the aquifer protection areas
- educates the public about ground water protection.
Municipalities in the program play the most critical role. They are responsible for appointing an aquifer protection agency, inventorying land uses within the aquifer protection area, designating the aquifer protection area boundary, and adopting and implementing local land use regulations. The agency regulates land use activities within the aquifer protection area by:
- registering existing regulated activities
- issuing permits for new regulated activities
- overseeing regulated facilities
- educating their citizens on ground water protection.
Water companies are required to map, using methods specified in state mapping regulations, the critical recharge areas of the aquifer which provide water to the well fields. The preliminary (Level B) mapping has been completed for all the well fields, providing a general estimate of the critical areas. This preliminary mapping is refined by the water companies using extensive, site-specific data and ground-water modeling to determine the final (Level A) mapping area. The final mapping defines the regulatory boundaries for the land use regulations. In addition to mapping, the water companies:
- assist towns with their protection programs and oversight of the aquifer protection area
- conduct well field monitoring to warn of contamination
- plan for land acquisition and protection around well fields.
Specific information may be found at the links below:
If you have questions or for further information on the program, please contact us at:
Aquifer Protection Area Program
Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection
Bureau of Water Protection and Land Reuse
Planning and Standards Division
79 Elm Street
Hartford, CT 06106-5127
Phone: (860) 424-3020
Fax: (860) 424-4055
Content last updated on June 1, 2012.