FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. – After high levels of lead were discovered in drinking water in Brookfield and Newtown, U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty urged federal agencies to take immediate action to protect access to safe drinking water.
Lead levels in drinking water that exceed the federal threshold have been identified at St. Joseph School in Brookfield and the Cedarhurst Association water supply in Newtown, Esty said in a statement Wednesday.
“Lead levels exceeding federal thresholds pose a serious public health threat, particularly for more vulnerable populations,” Esty wrote.
Earlier this month, the Associated Press reported that 14 water systems in Connecticut are out of compliance with the federal lead and copper rule, including three water systems that serve 516 residents in Esty's Fifth Congressional District. Federal law limits lead levels in drinking water to 15 parts per billion, but some tests found lead levels as high as 20 ppb, according to the Associated Press.
In a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy, Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Tom Frieden, Esty called on the federal agencies to provide the Connecticut Department of Public Health with the resources it needs to resolve the problem.
“Immediate action must be taken to ensure that Connecticut’s residents have access to safe drinking water, that no residents are forced to pay for contaminated water, and that CT DPH has the resources it needs to maintain the integrity of its uncontaminated systems,” Esty said.
Three separate tests in Brookfield, including one at St. Joseph School, found the water to have lead levels of 17 ppb, 19 ppb, and 20 ppb.
"The health risks of drinking contaminated water are very serious, and families should not have to pay for contaminated water in addition to purchasing clean drinking water from another source," Esty said in her letter.
"Immediate action must be taken to ensure that Connecticut’s residents have access to safe drinking water, that no residents are forced to pay for contaminated water, and that CT DPH has the resources it needs to maintain the integrity of its uncontaminated systems."