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  October 2, 2000

UConn's Water Safe to Drink, Says Report

UConn's water is safe to drink and the University has met all the drinking water standards established by the Environmental Protection Agency and the state Department of Public Health, according to the recently released 1999 Drinking Water Report.

"For general consumption, all of the drinking water tests in normal and safe ranges," says Larry Schilling, University architect.

The quality of the drinking water has remained stable over the past few years, he adds, except for a few isolated incidents.

Although some minor levels of contaminants were discovered this year, Schilling says, there are almost no health risks involved in drinking the water. The concentrations of the contaminants were well below the maximum contaminant level and no advanced treatment was required to provide a higher quality of water.

People who have compromised immune systems may be vulnerable to contaminants in the drinking water, however, and must be careful in their consumption, he says.

This year, trace metals and radioactive, microbial, and organic chemicals were detected as contaminants in the university's drinking water.

The most common sources of these contaminants are the erosion of natural deposits and the corrosion of household plumbing systems. Fertilizer runoff, leaching septic tanks,

and chlorination by-products were also contributing factors to the contamination.

As a new requirement by the Environmental Protection Agency, the university must distribute a water quality report annually to its customers, providing them with information on the contaminants in their drinking water.

This information can be found posted on residence hall bulletin boards and on the University's website. It is also distributed to non-university customers, the local director of health and the Windham Council of Government through the mail.

The university owns and operates the local water system, supplying water for the main and depot campuses as well as for private residences, apartments and commercial and governmental facilities in the Town of Mansfield.

Two large wellfields, located on the banks of the Willimantic and Fenton rivers, are pumped to provide water for the University's customers. The water is treated with chlorine and adjusted for pH. Except for the Depot Campus and residences on Route 32, fluoride is also added for treatment.

The full water quality report is available online. Click here for the report.

Mydria Clark