FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Connecticut Department of Public Health
May 7, 2013 Contact: William Gerrish
Hartford – Nearly one hundred Connecticut water systems are taking advantage of a federal loan program administered by the Department of Public Health (DPH) to purchase emergency power generators, state health officials today announced.
Since 1998, DPH has offered low interest loans to help public water systems finance sustainable infrastructure improvements to improve water quality and protect public health through the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF), a federal loan program with interest rates below the market rate and repayment terms of up to 20 years. Last year, after multiple devastating storms, a new program was announced specifically to finance emergency power generators.
To date, 39 water systems have used DWSRF loans to purchase emergency power generators. An additional 60 applications have been received for the installation of emergency power generators over the next two years. The total cost of the loan program is approximately $3.5 million.
“In the past two years, Connecticut has been hit with major weather events that have left thousands of people without one of life’s most critical necessities - safe drinking water,” said DPH Commissioner Dr. Jewel Mullen. “These loans are helping small water companies upgrade their systems so they will be prepared for future emergencies.”
After Tropical Storm Irene and a rare October Nor’easter in 2011 left hundreds of thousands of utility customers without power, 206 public water systems were also left in the dark, leaving them unable to provide safe drinking water for their customers. Approximately 37,000 Connecticut residents were affected and asked to boil their tap water before consumption.
Connecticut Drinking Water Week
In recognition of National Drinking Water Week, Governor Dannel P. Malloy proclaimed May 5 through 11 Connecticut Drinking Water Week, encouraging residents to recognize drinking water as a precious public health resource and to help protect our source waters from pollution, practice water conservation, and become involved in regional and local drinking water issues.
DPH is celebrating Connecticut Drinking Water Week by presenting awards to two individuals for their outstanding contributions to the health and safety of the state’s drinking water. Robert J. Longo, the Assistant Superintendent of Bristol Water Department, will receive the Certified Operator Public Health Drinking Water Merit Award and Wesley Winterbottom, a full-time faculty member at Gateway Community College, will receive the Educational Public Health Drinking Water Merit Award.
The 2012 Environmental Quality in Connecticut report, released by the Council on Environmental Equality last month, stated “Connecticut is among the very best states in delivering safe drinking water to customers of public water systems.”
The DPH Drinking Water Section is responsible for the administration of state and federal drinking water regulations and is dedicated to assuring the quality and adequacy of the state’s public drinking water sources. DPH provides technical assistance, education and regulatory enforcement to over 2,500 public drinking water systems, which provide drinking water to approximately 2.9 million Connecticut residents and visitors on a daily basis.
The Connecticut Department of Public Health is the state’s leader in public health policy and advocacy with a mission to protect and promote the health and safety of the people of our state. To contact the department, please visit its website at www.ct.gov/dph or call (860) 509-7270.