Danbury’s City Water Bureau has requested emergency assistance from the Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) due to the impact of ongoing drought conditions on the city’s public water system. Yesterday, DPH Commissioner Dr. Raul Pino signed an order declaring a temporary 30-day public water supply emergency for the City of Danbury. The City’s Water Bureau provides water to residents and businesses in portions of Danbury, Ridgefield and Bethel. Late last week, the City informed DPH that its water supply reservoirs are approaching critically low levels and requested the emergency declaration.
DPH, in consultation with the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) and the Public Utility Regulatory Authority (PURA), determined that the declaration was necessary to prevent further depletion of the water supply. This order will allow the City of Danbury to use Lake Kenosia as a source of available water supply in accordance with Danbury's Lake Kenosia Flood Skimming procedures.
In order to access the new water source, the City must institute mandatory water conservation measures and demonstrate to DPH that it is maximizing the use of all current water sources. To view the Commissioner’s Declaration and Order, please click here.
“Protecting public health by ensuring an adequate supply of safe drinking water is a paramount concern for DPH. The current drought conditions are taxing many of the state’s reservoirs and forcing public water systems to ask for an emergency declaration to protect their supplies. DPH will continue to be vigilant in our enforcement of our drinking water standards while working with systems to make sure they continue to provide adequate supplies of water to their customers,” said Commissioner Pino.
This is the third public water system in the past two months to request a declaration to allow the system to take additional steps in order to ensure an adequate supply of drinking water for areas facing a substantial depletion of their public water supply as a result of ongoing drought conditions. The first, Aquarion Water Company (AWC), was granted an emergency order on September 29th in order to divert water from other areas of its system to the towns of Greenwich, Stamford, Darien and New Canaan. Then on October 20th, an order was issued to the City of Waterbury allow it to reduce the amount of water it is required to discharge to the Shepaug River from the current level of six million gallons per day to 1.5 million gallons per day.
“We have asked all of the state’s public water suppliers to review their current drought plans and make any necessary adjustments to their drought triggers,” Dr. Pino added. “While the suppliers are undertaking this review, I strongly encourage individuals, households and businesses throughout Connecticut to similarly review their water usage to determine where they can conserve water. Whether it’s not running water while brushing teeth, washing fuller loads of clothes and dishes, shortening showers, or other conservation measures, any adjustments to water consumption are helpful.”
The DPH order places several conditions that Danbury must meet for the duration of the public water supply emergency. Those conditions include: prohibiting Danbury from adding new customers without prior approval by DPH; continuing mandatory outdoor watering bans; requiring Danbury to provide weekly public notifications on water supplies for the affected towns; requiring Danbury to perform a water audit of its top 20 largest water users and assist users with identifying ways to reduce usage; requiring Danbury to develop a plan on how it will test weekly for corrosion throughout its service area; requiring the monitoring of water entering the West Lake Reservoir treatment plant for bacteria, cyanotoxins, pesticides and inorganic chemicals; and providing several weekly reports to DPH, DEEP, and local health departments on water supply measurements, effectiveness of conservation practices, communications with town and local health officials in the affected towns, and results of water quality monitoring.
The order will remain in effect for 30 days, but Danbury can apply for additional 30 day extensions, up to a maximum of 150 days.