Frequently Asked Questions about Drinking Water

Where does my drinking water come from?
Drinking water can come from either ground water sources (via dug, driven, bored or drilled wells) or surface water sources (such as lakes and reservoirs).

Approximately 76% of Connecticut's population is served by public water systems that possess the capability to deliver both ground and surface water supplies. Twenty-one percent of large systems in Connecticut rely exclusively on surface supplies. Twenty-three percent of people in Connecticut have their own private well for drinking water.

How do I know if I receive my water from a public supply or from a private well?
If you pay a bill for your water, or your landlord or housing association pays a bill for your water, your water comes from a public water supply.

Who regulates the quality of my drinking water?
In Connecticut, the Department of Public Health (DPH), Drinking Water Division (DWD) is responsible for the administration of all State and Federal drinking water regulations and assuring the quality and adequacy of our State’s public drinking water. Under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, all municipal and other public water supplies must be tested regularly for bacteria, man-made chemicals, naturally occurring radioactivity, and naturally occurring compounds. More Info

Private drinking water wells are not subject to regulation under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, however the DPH uses the same maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) that have been established for public drinking water supplies for determining potability of private supplies. Connecticut's private well water regulations apply to new well construction or the sale of a home with an existing well. In addition, the DPH has established state drinking water Action Levels for private/public supplies.  An "action level" means the level of concentration of a contaminant for which no state or federal MCL exists, but for which the DPH recommends a course of action be taken to reduce health risks.  It is recommended that all private well owners conduct periodic water quality testing to evaluate overall water quality of their private well including general potability parameters (bacteriological, chemical, and physical quality) and for the presence of volatile organic compounds using EPA test method 524.2.  Should well water quality testing identify an exceedance of an MCL or Action Level, the well owner should contact their local health department or the DEEP at 860-424-3705 for assistance.

Bottled water is regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a food product. FDA has established allowable levels for physical, microbiological, chemical, and radiological contaminants in bottled water. The minimum standards for the quality of bottled water are generally the same as those established by EPA for public drinking water systems. For information on bottled water regulations, call FDA at 1-800-463-6332 or visit the FDA website.

Who do I contact if I have questions regarding my drinking water?

If you receive your water from public water supply system, contact your water supplier. You can also contact the CT Department of Public Health (DPH) Drinking Water Section at (860) 509-7333.

If you have a private well, contact your local Health Department or the DPH Private Well Program at (860) 509-7296.

Related Links:

Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) Drinking Water Section

List of Approved Certified Laboratories in Connecticut

Directory of Local Health Departments