Water is a precious natural resource, and it plays a huge part of our everyday lives and our health. We drink, swim in, fish in, and use water in other ways every day. But how often do we think about water quality or our water system?
Many factors impact our water, including water conservation efforts and pollution. Several laws, regulations, and systems exist to monitor water quality and keep our water supply safe.
For example, the Norwalk Health Department works closely with partners to monitor beach water during the summer months to ensure it is safe for swimming and shellfishing. The Health Department also provides staff support for the Mayor’s Water Quality Committee and the Shellfish Commission.
The Norwalk Health Department does not supply or regulate public drinking water. However, we do work to monitor emerging environmental health topics, support the agencies and organizations working in this vital area, and help to inform the public about topics that impact their health. Two public water systems serve our city: the First Taxing District Water Department (FDWD) and the Second Taxing District / South Norwalk Electric and Water (SNEW). For a map of their service areas, click here.
Drinking water is monitored to make sure it stays clear of common, well-known sources of contamination. Systems are in place to continuously monitor the water system for these contaminants.
Sometimes, new contaminants emerge over time, prompting public health officials at the federal, state, and local levels to investigate these substances and their health impacts. One such category of contaminants is Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS), a group of man-made chemicals that have been used in various products, including non-stick cookware, food packaging, upholstered furniture, clothing, and firefighting foam. They have been manufactured and used in the United States since the 1940s.
In September 2018, the CT Department of Public Health (CT DPH) requested that water systems voluntarily test for PFAS. FDWD proactively tested and detected low levels of PFAS. These levels were well below the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Health Advisory level of 70 parts per trillion (ppt). The water is safe to drink, and the levels that have been found are much lower than what would trigger a concern for the health of the community. Still, after receiving the results, the FDWD adopted operational rules to minimize use of the wells and has taken several wells off line and continues to monitor and sample for PFAS. Please read this info sheet for more information.
If you have a private well and have questions about your drinking water, you can contact Norwalk Health Department Director of Environmental Services, Tom Closter, at (203) 854-7824.
For More Information
- Connecticut Department of Public Health Drinking Water Section
- Connecticut Department of Public Health PFAS Fact Sheet
- Connecticut Department of Public Health Private Well Section
- Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry PFAS Information