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Routine tests indicate presence of coliform/E. coli


Dated:               July 12, 2009

Release Date:    For Immediate Release

Contact:            Robert Viens, Mayor, Town of Putnam 860-963-6800

Patricia Beckenhaupt, Director of Health, Northeast District

Department of Health, 860-774-7350 x.19,



PUTNAM – Required water quality tests conducted by the Water Pollution Control Authority of Putnam (WPCA) during the July, 2009 monitoring period indicated the presence of fecal coliform or E. coli in the Town of Putnam water supply.


This is a violation of drinking water standards and Section 19-13-B102(i) of the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies which requires public notification of the violation.


The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets drinking water standards and has determined that the presence of fecal coliform or E. coli is a serious health concern. Fecal coliforms and E. coli are bacteria whose presence indicate that the water may be contaminated with human or animal waste. Microbes in these wastes can cause diarrhea, cramps, nausea, headaches or other symptoms. They may pose an increased health risk for infants, young children, the elderly, and people with severely compromised immune systems. It is recommended that the precautions indicated below be taken for human consumption activities including drinking, food preparation, making coffee or ice, dishwashing, or maintaining oral hygiene:


  • Bringing the water to a rapid boil for one minute to inactivate any bacteria that may be present OR
  • Using bottled water or an alternate source of approved drinking water.

Officials from the Town of Putnam, Connecticut State Department of Public Health (CT DPH) and the Northeast District Department of Health (NDDH) are currently working together to provide all required notifications.


“I have instructed the Water Pollution Control Authority of Putnam to go above and beyond required protocols in order to correct this violation as quickly as possible,” said Putnam Mayor Robert Viens. “We have increased disinfection of the town water supply, have flushed the system, and have increased our water collection sampling and monitoring beyond state requirements.”


Based on guidance received from the EPA and CT DPH, local town and health department officials stressed that the boiled water/bottle water advisory is particularly important for infants, expectant mothers, the elderly, immuno-compromised individuals and anyone undergoing chemotherapy. Residents should consult their physicians with any medical questions or concerns.


“While the town of Putnam is working diligently to remedy the issue, the health department is available to answer any questions that residents may have regarding any associated health risks,” said Patricia Beckenhaupt, NDDH Director of Health.


Additional sampling results will determine future actions and will be shared as more information becomes available.


“The mechanisms in place that allow us to monitor our water systems worked appropriately and have provided us the opportunity to respond quickly to address the issue before us,” said Viens.


For more information:

Putnam Town Hall – 860-963-6800

NDDH – 860-774-7350 /

Department of Public Health website –