DEEP: 1982 - Potable Water Program

Top 40
Environmental Accomplishments of the Past 40 Years

Potable Water Program
(1982)

Background
We rely on the waters of the State for our drinking water; therefore, the quality and protection of these waters is of the utmost importance. Many residents and small businesses get their drinking water from private wells that draw directly from groundwater aquifers, which are rock or soil formations capable of yielding adequate amounts of water. Municipal water is also supplied from groundwater and surface water sources, such as reservoirs and rivers. The Potable Water Program, created in 1982, works to ensure that safe drinking water is available to residents whose well water is found to be polluted as a result of improper disposal, handling, or storage of chemicals. It is also one of the longest running programs at DEP. Remediation Division staff have investigated well water pollution problems arising from leaking underground fuel oil or gasoline tanks; inappropriate management of industrial and commercial chemicals, including fertilizers and pesticides; landfills; and road salting activities.

Connecticut’s programs to protect groundwater have served as a national model. Connecticut first enacted water pollution control legislation in 1925. When the DEP was created in 1971, the Connecticut Clean Water Act of 1967 was used as the foundation for a wide range of regulatory programs aimed at protecting groundwater and setting goals for the restoration and management of surface and groundwater quality in the State. The Potable Water Program, created in 1982, deals with a wide-range of pollutants and works to ensure clean drinking water. Remediation Division staff work closely with state and local health departments to educate well owners on evaluating and resolving drinking water pollution problems with water analysis, treatment, and well protection.

The Potable Water Program coordinates the monitoring of private wells suspected of being contaminated, based on potential sources of pollution. The program provides a short-term resolution of drinking water contamination by investigating and requiring remediation of groundwater pollution which affects or threatens drinking water supplies. It also provides long-term resolution of drinking water contamination with parties responsible for causing or maintaining contamination by requiring the provision of potable water when drinking water has been contaminated. The Commissioner of DEP can also issue Water Supply Orders as a means to enforce the provision of a long-term supply of potable water in cases where the responsible party can be identified. In cases where no responsible party exists or the well pollution is widespread, the DEP works with the state legislature and municipalities under Consent Orders to provide potable water for those affected by pollution, based on the availability of funding.

Measuring Success
 
Through the Potable Water Program, approximately 2,500 contaminated, public and private drinking water supply wells have received an alternative supply of potable water. The program continues to be one of the most protective State programs for private drinking water supplies in the country. Additionally, the Potable Water Program was the launching point for other important programs, such as the Significant Environmental Hazard Program (1998) which involves the expedited mitigation of high concentrations of contaminants that may directly affect drinking, ground- and surface water.
 
Looking Ahead
 
The Potable Water Program will go through a LEAN event, which is a program improvement event designed to increase efficiency and achieve more consistent results.
 
More Information
 
Potable Water Program  

What You Can Do

  • Remember that all the water on Earth is connected – the water in the ground with the streams with the rivers with the oceans. Prevent pollution by using products that are less harmful to the environment.
  • Live green by reducing waste sent to landfills through recycling and reuse.
  • Conserve water by watering the lawn less, using water-efficient appliances, and turning the faucet off when it is not being used.
  • Get involved with your community to protect drinking water sources and pass the word along to your friends.
“It is found and declared that the pollution of the waters of the State is inimical to the public health, safety and welfare of the inhabitants of the State…and impairs domestic, agricultural, industrial, recreational and other legitimate beneficial uses of water…and the necessity and public interest for the enactment of this chapter and the elimination of pollution is hereby declared as a matter of legislative determination.”
from Connecticut Legislature’s declaration of policy for water pollution control