Saltonstall_PK_2537

Protecting our Water Sources

Our mandate is to ensure a reliable supply of high-quality water to our consumers. To this end, we spend a considerable amount of time working both locally and at the state level to see that drinking water remains clean and safe for everyone.

Locally, we look at existing land uses in towns and scrutinize proposed developments on public water supply watersheds and aquifer lands. Environmental staff conduct over 2,500 watershed inspections annually. Our police force patrols more than 400-square miles. Those inspections, combined with security measures, and a team of environmental analysts, laboratory technicians, lake crews and foresters, work together to safeguard the health of our reservoirs and groundwater aquifers.

Oftentimes in our review of development plans, we recommend that developers construct storm water treatment systems to minimize the impact of the proposed development on the environment and our water supplies. In fact, over the last 15 years, we have built man-made wetlands or treatment systems on our own watershed lands to improve storm water quality from surrounding areas. These systems include storm water management basins, grass swales, and constructed wetlands that collect and treat runoff from parking lots, roads, and lawns.

All applicants before a municipal Planning and Zoning Commission, Inland Wetlands Commission or Zoning Board of Appeals for any project located within a public water supply watershed are required by Public Act 89-301 (Sections 8-3i and 22a-42f of the Connecticut General Statutes) to notify the affected public water utility by certified mail within seven days of the application. A form has been provided for your use. Download Form.

At the state level, we work to support legislation that protects the water and the environment. We backed the State Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s (DEEP’s) efforts to adopt regulations for the protection of Connecticut’s public water supply aquifers. The adoption of land use controls in aquifer areas balances public health and economic concerns and allow for compatible industrial and commercial development in aquifer protection areas.

Another important element in our source water protection efforts includes owning and maintaining over 27,000 acres of watershed land. We spend several million dollars each year to acquire additional critical watershed lands. Buying and protecting watershed land is effective in preventing the degradation of water quality and helps to minimize treatment expenses. This is an important investment for the long-term protection of our region’s water supply.

 To learn more, please read “The Land We Need for the Water We Use.” (PDF)

Download this source protection PDF to take a trip through our watersheds and aquifers to see how we protect and maintain the quality of our source water.

Five Steps to Help Protect Your Drinking Water
Here’s a short list of what you can do around your own home to protect water quality. This is important whether you are one of our consumers or if you get water from your own well. Either way, the last thing you want to do is contaminate a supply of water.

  1. Maintain your septic system: A properly designed septic system is effective at treating domestic wastewater. However, if not properly maintained, a septic system can pollute groundwater. Only use your septic system for domestic waste-water, not trash or household chemical disposal. Have a licensed septic hauler pump it out at least every three to five years.
  2. Don’t dump into storm drains: Storm drains in the road are usually connected to the nearest wetland, stream, pond or lake. Be careful when applying pesticides or fertilizers, walking the dog, and washing and maintaining the car. Keep potential contaminants from these activities off paved surfaces where they may wash into drinking water resources.
  3. Properly dispose of household hazardous wastes. Paints, antifreezes, pesticides and household cleaning products have a way of collecting in homes. The collection center, HazWaste Central, which is operated by the Authority, will dispose of your hazardous waste for a free if you reside in one of our member municipalities.
  4. Maintain native vegetation if you live alongside streams, wetlands or other water body. A natural vegetated buffer along the water’s edge—un-mowed grass or woodland—prevents erosion and traps contaminants.
  5. Report chemical spills or other incidents that can threaten water quality by the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection at 860-424-3338. Incidents that may affect our region’s water supply should also be reported to the Regional Water Authority at 203-562-4020.

Neighborhood Water Watch

The Authority’s Police Department works diligently to keep our drinking water system safe, however we can’t be everywhere in advance of trouble. We are asking our neighbors, who live in close proximity to one of our facilities, or recreation permit holders, who are out on our trails or fishing, to be the “eyes and ears” for the public water supply system.

If you witness any suspicious or illegal activity at one of our facilities, or someone trespassing, dumping waste, painting graffiti on the grounds of a water facility, or tampering with a town’s fire hydrants should be reported. Please call our police hotline at 203-401-2525.

Website by DRZ Digital, LLC