The Drinking Water Section (DWS) is responsible for the administration and implementation of state and federal public health-focused drinking water laws and regulations, and is dedicated to assuring the purity and adequacy of the state’s public drinking water systems and sources. The DWS has primacy over the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974 as well as state public drinking water laws.
DWS provides technical assistance, education and regulatory enforcement to Connecticut’s 2,550 public drinking water systems, which provide public drinking water to approximately 2.8 million people on a daily basis. The DWS is committed to protecting and promoting healthy people in healthy Connecticut communities by assuring the use and distribution of high quality public drinking water for human consumption.
The DWS is organized into seven programmatic areas. Each programmatic area is organized into a functional unit which is responsible to carry out a function of statewide public water system regulation and oversight. Each unit works under a set of programmatic measures and strives toward continuous quality improvement.
The following programmatic units make up the Drinking Water Section:
- Technical Review and Field Assessment Unit – The unit is responsible for sanitary surveys, engineering technical review and technical assistance to large community systems, small community systems and non-community, non-transient systems. Included with this unit is the incorporation of individual water supply plans with sanitary surveys and a focus on additional direct technical assistance customized by system type to include area wide optimization for large systems and asset management for small systems.
- Safe Drinking Water Rule Implementation Unit – The unit is responsible for administration and implementation of state and federal regulations directly related to the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). Public water system compliance status with maximum contaminant levels, treatment techniques and monitoring and reporting requirements are tracked and technical assistance is provided to help bring the water systems back into compliance with the regulations. The unit also provides oversight of the Safe Drinking Water Information System (SDWIS/State) and reports water system compliance information to the Environmental Protection Agency in accordance with primacy requirements.
- Enforcement Unit – The unit is responsible for informal and formal enforcement of the public health code concerning water quality and quantity for all public water systems. This unit works with systems to return to compliance and reduce the number of regulatory violations. Formal enforcement is focused toward the use of consent orders/agreements to effectively address outstanding violations.
- Capacity Unit – The unit is responsible for capacity reporting and training and the coordination of on-going internal and external capacity development efforts in Connecticut. A baseline assessment grading system has been developed to direct priority technical assistance concerning asset management and sustainability by system type. The unit is responsible for direct oversight of transient non-community (TNC) sanitary surveys and engineering technical reviews and will focus on effective streamlining of the regulation process for TNC systems.
- Grant and Administration Unit – The unit is responsible for grant and fiscal management, administration for the DWS, oversight of Operator Certification program, purchasing and contract administration. Emphasis is on streamlining EPA grant processes, report writing and modernization of the certification program.
- Source Assessment and Protection Unit – is responsible for the purity of Connecticut’s approximately 4,000 surface and groundwater drinking water supply sources through regulation and guidance of activities within source water areas. These areas comprise over 18 percent of the land area in Connecticut. Annually the unit reviews activities/proposals in source water areas and issues permits, including approvals for new sources of public drinking water. This unit is also tasked with overseeing the creation and approval of water utility coordinating committees statewide as well as administering the Connecticut Source Water Collaborative.
- Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) Unit –The DWSRF provides long-term low interest loans to public water systems for infrastructure improvements that address public health, regulatory compliance or infrastructure sustainability. This unit is staffed with engineers that work closely with public water systems, the DPH Contracts and Grants Management Section, the DPH Business Office and the Office of the State Treasurer to prioritize projects and process loan applications that will receive the limited funding available each year.