What is a Public Water System? - Connecticut is one of the smallest states in the United States. It has 3.6 million people living in a land area of 4,844 square miles. Even though Connecticut is small, it is home to over 2,500 public water systems.

About 85% of Connecticut’s 3.6 million residents get their drinking water from community systems.  Connecticut has over 550 Non-transient non-community water systems. These systems are not community systems and regularly serve at least 25 of the same people over six months of the year at places like schools and office buildings.

There are currently over 1,400 confirmed transient non-community water systems in Connecticut. These non-community systems do not meet the definition of a nontransient, non-community water system and include restaurants, parks, etc.

Where does your drinking Water come from and how does it get to your home? - The water you get from your faucet can come from two places - from the water in lakes or rivers (surface water), or from water that comes from wells (groundwater). Many people in this area who live in large cities or towns get their water for drinking from lakes and rivers.

How is it cleaned before we drink it? -  Water needs to be treated to meet strict drinking water standards before it can be used in your house. In general, water from rivers and reservoirs is treated in the following way:

  • First the water is passed through huge sieves that catch and remove large bits of debris such as leaves and twigs.
  • Coagulation - the smaller particles such as dirt, bacteria and metals are removed by adding carefully controlled amounts of chemicals to the water. This causes the small particles in the water to stick together, forming a dense layer (called floc) that sinks to the bottom, carrying with it the unwanted particles.
  • Sedimentation - The heavy particles (floc) settle to the bottom and the clear water moves to filtration.
  • Filtration - The water passes through filters, some made of layers of sand, gravel, and charcoal that help remove even smaller particles.
  • Disinfection - A small amount of chlorine is added or some other disinfection method is used to kill any bacteria or microorganisms that may be in the water.
  • Water from wells will have already been naturally filtered during its passage down through the rocks and can often require only minimal treatment.        

What is a watershed?  A watershed is an area of land that drains all the streams and rainfall to a common outlet such as the outflow of a reservoir, mouth of a bay, or any point along a stream channel. See "Living in a public Water Supply Watershed".

How does the Drinking Water Section make sure our water is safe? - The DWS is responsible for the administration of state and federal drinking water regulations and is dedicated to assuring the quality and adequacy of our state’s public drinking water sources. We provide technical assistance, education and regulatory enforcement to over 2,500 public drinking water systems, which provide drinking water to approximately 2.8 million persons on a daily basis. We maintain a continuing commitment to drinking water treatment and monitoring, drinking water source protection, and consumer education in order to assure and maintain the high standard of drinking water Connecticut’s residents have come to expect and enjoy.

What protections are in place for Connecticut's drinking water that other states don't have? - Connecticut remains the only state in the United States to continue a prohibition on sewage treatment plant point discharges within the watershed of a surface water supply reservoir. For more information  see Summary of CT Statutes & Regulations for the Protection of Public Drinking Water Sources

Is there a way to find out how my public drinking water system is doing? - Over 90 percent of water systems meet EPA’s standards for tap water quality. The best source of specific information about your drinking water is your water supplier. Community water suppliers are required to send their customers an annual Consumer Confidence Report (CCR). Contact your water supplier to get a copy or see if your report is posted online. For additional information, call the Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 1-800-426-4791, visit EPA’s web sites on local drinking water at www.epa.gov/safewater or contact the Drinking Water Section at (860) 509-7333.