Norwich Public Utilities (NPU)

A municipally owned utility serving Norwich, CT with
natural gas, electricity, water and sewer services.

Home For My Home DPH Consent Agreement

DPH Consent Agreement

June 23, 2017

In February 2017, Norwich Public Utilities (NPU) entered into a Consent Agreement with the State of Connecticut’s Department of Public Health (DPH), requiring that we notify customers of improvements being made to our water system to address an ongoing water quality issue.

clear-water-glassSince 2015, NPU has occasionally failed to meet the Stage 2 Disinfection Byproduct Rule at all locations throughout our water distribution system.  Disinfection byproducts develop when microscopic levels of naturally occurring organic material remain in the drinking water after the purification process and react with chlorine used for their elimination and overall system disinfection. 

From time to time, NPU has experienced exceedances of the disinfection byproducts threshold level of 80 parts per billion.  Exceedances have typically occurred at one or two locations in the system by values of 1 to 5 parts per billion (this exceedance is the equivalent of 1 to 5 cents per $1,000,000).  When these exceedances occur, NPU notifies our customers and posts information on our website.

NPU works closely with the DPH regarding all water quantity and quality issues including commissioning of any new infrastructure or treatment systems or processes. Some recent infrastructure improvements include:

·         Constructed a new 1 million gallon water storage tank

·         Relined approximately 3,700 linear feet of transmission main

·         Replaced outdated pumps, drives, piping, and chemical feed systems

·         Converted from chlorine gas to sodium hypochlorite in our treatment process

Additional projects underway include replacing the 50+ year old 5 million gallon water tank located in Mohegan Park with a smaller 2.5 million gallon tank (scheduled for spring 2017) and installation of an active mixing/aeration system in the water storage tank that serves the Taftville/Occum area (scheduled for fall 2017.)

These improvements, as well as the associated operational changes were documented in a plan that was provided to and approved by the DPH.

As part of the Consent Agreement, NPU will provide customers with quarterly updates of the progress made toward reaching consistent compliance with the Stage 2 rule as well as updates on the infrastructure improvements.

During the quarters ending March 30, 2017 and June 30, 2017, NPU was compliant with the Stage 2 Disinfection and Disinfection By-Product Rule at all compliance locations within our system.

Capital projects included in the Compliance Action Plan are proceeding according to schedule:

  • Mohegan Park Tank - expected completion date:  May 2018
  • Occum water storage tank aeration/mixing system - expected completion date:  March 2018
  • Stony Brook filtration improvements - expected completion date:  July 2019

Frequently Asked Questions

1.     What is the issue with NPU’s water quality?

·         Based on ongoing testing, NPU has intermittently exceeded the established Stage 2 Disinfection Byproduct Rule as set by the U.S. Department of Environmental Protection (EPA).

·         Since 2015 there have been times when there has been an organic compound in our water at a slightly higher level than is allowed under federal regulations.

2. Is it safe to drink?

·         Yes. NPU’s water supply remains safe and the levels by which we’ve exceeded the standards do not pose a health risk to our customers.

·         NPU has achieved compliance with the standards for the past six months.

3. What caused this to happen?

·         Disinfection byproducts develop when microscopic levels of naturally occurring organics remain in the drinking water after the purification process and react with the chlorine used to eliminate them and provide system-wide disinfection.

4. What were the results of this testing?

·         Our testing reveals that NPU’s level of disinfection byproducts is occasionally slightly above the recently revised allowable amount as set by the EPA.

·         The EPA’s standard is 0.080 mg/L (milligrams per liter). NPU’s levels have, at certain times, slightly exceeded this standard.

5. What is NPU doing to resolve this issue?

·         Our plans to address this issue have been reviewed and approved by the State of Connecticut’s Department of Health.

·         We have already completed several projects that will give us better tools to address this issue, including capital projects to modernize and improve the strength of our water system.  

o    Constructed a new 1 million gallon water storage tank

o    Relined approximately 3,700 linear feet of transmission main

o    Replaced outdated pumps, drives, piping, and chemical feed systems

o    Converted from chlorine gas to sodium hypochlorite in our treatment process

Additional projects are proceeding according to the approved schedule as described above.

6. Do I need to boil my water?

·         No. This is not a bacteria-related issue so boiling water is not necessary.

7. Am I putting myself / my family in danger by drinking this water?

·         Not at all. NPU’s water supply remains safe and the levels by which we’ve occasionally exceeded the standards do not pose a health risk to our customers.

8. When will you know if the problem is fixed?

·         We will continue to monitor this situation very closely and are regularly measuring the levels of disinfection byproduct in our system.

·         Our results will be reported to the State of Connecticut’s Department of Public Health as required by state regulation.

·         Results of quarterly testing will also be posted on this webpage along with the status of our projects and efforts to consistently meet the standards.

9. Will NPU give me water to drink while this issue is being resolved?

·         No. NPU’s water remains safe for human consumption.

10. Will my home’s water filtration system help with this issue?

·         No. A standard residential filtration system will not help address this issue.

11. Is there any concern in having the water come in contact with my skin?

·         No. NPU’s water is safe for human consumption and use.

1     12: Is this water safe for my pets?

·         Yes. NPU’s water is safe for consumption and use.

 

 

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