The Regulatory Services Branch has regulatory oversight of the state’s drinking water systems, environmental health services, and local health administration. Programs include licensure, investigation, and enforcement action against suppliers/providers that are in violation of the law or otherwise pose a risk to public health and safety. The branch also operates prevention programs focusing on health education. Providing technical assistance to local health departments and licensed providers is a priority. The branch also oversees agency public health preparedness initiatives.
Environmental Health Section
The Environmental Health Section (EHS) is comprised of ten programs, which are diverse in their scope, and oversight of both regulated and unregulated professions/entities. The section works closely with local health departments and a licensed workforce of practitioners to provide technical assistance, training, and risk assessment on emerging environmental health issues. EHS also manages the initial licensure of environmental health practitioners, and assures regulatory activities are executed in accordance with established standards of practice, regulations, and statutes.
Programs within EHS include:
· Environmental Engineering
o On-Site Subsurface Sewage Systems
o Mausoleums, Crematories and Private Burial Grounds
· Environmental Laboratory Certification
· Environmental and Occupational Health Assessment
o Environmental Public Health Tracking
o Occupational Health
o Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
o Indoor Environmental Air Quality
· Environmental Practitioner Licensure
· Food Protection
· Lead and Healthy Homes
· Private Wells
o Bathing areas
o Public pools
o Family campgrounds
Drinking Water Section
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.
Office of Local Health Administration
The Office of Local Health Administration ensures the delivery of public health services at the local level. The office:
· Provides consultation to strengthen coordination and collaboration between DPH
programs, local health agencies and professional organizations.
· Develops procedures to standardize communication and technical assistance to local
· Administers, collects data, and analyzes annual local health agency reports via the
Local Health Management System (LHMS) to monitor local health workforce trends
and track the provision of public health services locally.
· Coordinates monthly conference calls and webinars for local health directors.
· Advises the Commissioner on the approval of appointments of directors and acting
directors of local health agencies.
· Coordinates the bi-annual Commissioner meetings with local health directors.
· Supports implementation of DPH strategic priorities as outlined in the Healthy
Connecticut 2020: State Health Improvement Plan by facilitating:
1) participation of local health agencies in the Connecticut Health Improvement
Planning Coalition; and 2) information sharing related to implementation of the
plan regarding state and local activities and evaluation of effectiveness of
· Serves as a central focal point for local public health issues within the department, investigating consumer complaints with individual local health directors and
· Participates on interview panels for directors of local health agencies and
assists with the distribution of local health agencies’ job announcements.
· Provides consultation, coordinates training and technical assistance on public health
policies, and monitors public health services through the administration of the
Connecticut Per Capita grants-in-aid for local health agencies.
· Updates statutes and regulations related to local health agencies. Submits new
legislative proposals to improve and support delivery of public health services
at the local level. Reviews proposed legislation and determines the impact on
local public health and provides recommendations, when needed.
· Maintains a webpage and current local health agency directory to include contact information, addresses, and after-hour notification information
· Helps coordinate responses to local public health emergencies by maintaining
current contact and after business hour notification information for multiple contact
lists in the Health Alert Network (i.e., Everbridge), and facilitates
information gathering from local health agencies to determine operational
status and local needs.
· Supports regional public health systems that promote collaboration and coordination
among local health agencies and other community partners such as with regional
public health emergency preparedness planning and response efforts and
administering contractual agreements in collaboration with the Office of Public
Health Preparedness and Response.
Public Health Preparedness and Response
The DPH Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response (OPHPR) is responsible for the development and implementation of the state’s public health emergency plan and initiatives. The office ensures compliance with all state and federal mandates with respect to preparedness and response, and directs department operations during emergencies. The office is also responsible for identifying and securing grants in support of the state’s public health preparedness efforts and coordinating the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Public Health Emergency Preparedness, Bioterrorism Laboratory and the Hospital Preparedness Program cooperative agreements.
Deployment of the Strategic National Stockpile, Mobile Field Hospital, Mass Casualty trailers, Mass Casualty Management, City Readiness Initiative, Health-related Nuclear Emergency Response, Medical Reserve Corps, Mass Fatality Management and Disaster Medical Assistance Team are managed and coordinated through OPHPR. Statewide public health and healthcare communications are coordinated by OPHPR in collaboration with the state Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security (DEMHS). The office partners with DEMHS and the Military Department for the New England Disaster Training Center, a training facility that offers unique hands-on training focused on preparing civilian and military disaster responders.