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Water quality meets standards (Released: 10/28/99)

by Karen Grava, Office of University Communications

STORRS, Conn. -- UConn's water quality meets all standards of the federal and state governments, a new report shows.

New requirements issued by the federal Environmental Protection Agency require all water companies, including the University, to notify customers this month about the quality of their drinking water. Beginning next year, water companies will have to notify their customers about water quality annually by July 1.

The University owns and operates the water supply system that supplies water for both University and non-University users in the Town of Mansfield.. The water, which comes from two large wellfields in Mansfield, is treated with chlorine and adjusted for pH levels. Fluoride is also added, except at the Depot Campus and for residences on Route 32.

"We work hard to ensure the drinking water meets EPA and Connecticut Department of Public Health standards," says Larry Schilling, University architect.

The University's drinking water has been tested for nearly 100 potential contaminants. Traces of arsenic, barium, chromium, copper, lead, nitrate, nitrite and total trihalomethanes were found. Most are commonly found in ground water wells, except trihalomethanes, a byproduct of chlorination.

New EPA standards for drinking water and bottled water have gone into effect requiring that any level of any contaminant found be reported to users of the water. Contaminants that can be found in water include:

  • Microbial contaminants, such as viruses and bacteria, which may come from sewage treatment plants, agricultural livestock operations, septic systems and wildlife.
  • Inorganic contaminants, such as salts and metals that can be naturally occurring or result from industrial or domestic wastewater discharges, oil and gas production, mining, farming or urban storm water runoff.
  • Pesticides and herbicides, which may come from a variety of sources such as residential uses, urban storm water run-off, and agriculture.
  • Organic chemical contaminants, including synthetic and volatile organic chemicals, which are byproducts of industrial processes and petroleum production and can also come from gas stations, urban storm water run-off and septic systems.
  • Radioactive contaminants, which can be naturally occurring or be the result of oil and gas production and mining activities.

For more information, call the Environmental Health and Safety Office at (860) 486-3613.