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University's Water Quality Meets Standards
(Released: 09/27/01)

By Karen Grava, Office of University Communications

STORRS, Conn. -- The University of Connecticut is maintaining the high quality of its drinking water and is making progress in conserving water.

A recently completed report shows that the UConn's drinking water met all federal and state standards for quality in 2000, as in past years. The water is tested regularly by the Connecticut Department of Public Health.

The University supplies water to the Storrs campus and a number of local non-University users. The University's two large wellfields are located on the east bank of the Willimantic River and the west bank of the Fenton River, both within a few miles of campus. The water is treated with chlorine and adjusted for pH levels.

The report says trace amounts were found for only 10 of the nearly 80 contaminants for which tests were conducted. All amounts detected were well within the levels for safe drinking water. Environmental Protection Agency regulations limit the amounts of certain natural and artificial contaminants in drinking water, but says drinking water may reasonably be expected to contain small amounts of some contaminants from sources that may include agriculture, wildlife and naturally occurring salts. The presence of contaminants does not necessarily pose a health risk, according to the EPA.

Each year, the University issues a report on water quality to its customers. The University is making significant strides in reducing water usage. Schilling says UConn's daily water consumption at the Storrs campus is 250,000 gallons below its level in the late 1980s and early '90s, even though there are now more people on campus and more facilities. The University currently uses about 1.7 million gallons per day.

There are several areas where the University is saving water. All new buildings and renovations to existing buildings include the installation of water-saver units in showers, sinks, and toilets, Schilling says. UConn also has an ongoing program to monitor for underground water leaks, he says. Finally, water is saved in laboratories by recycling the water used to cool equipment.

"Water is a valuable resource," says Schilling, "and conservation can save not only the water but the energy needed to obtain it."

More information is available at http://www.fas.uconn.edu/ under "UConn water information".

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