A public drinking water supply emergency has been issued for part of Hebron and there is a mandatory ban on outdoor water use for those customers.
Connecticut Water Company said that a sudden loss of available water supply in its Hebron Center water system led the Department of Public Health to grant a declaration of a public drinking water supply emergency for the Hebron Center and Country Manor systems. That’s approximately 200 customers in the town’s municipal center, including the former Mill at Stonecroft consumers.
“It dropped by about half of its capacity which in a small facility like Hebron Center is very critical,” said Craig Patla, vice president of service delivery for Connecticut Water.
No other Connecticut Water systems are affected, the company said.
“The company observed a sudden and significant decline in the supply available from our largest well serving the Hebron Center system. While we often have multiple options available to supply our systems, this particular small system is served with a single well field, so we have had to supplement the supply with bulk water deliveries to meet public health and fire protection needs. We know that is not sustainable or the level of service that is appropriate for our customers, so we are taking immediate actions,” Patla said in a statement.
The Connecticut Water Company is investigating the condition of the water source and the reason for the drop in supply. The plan is to pull the pump to the largest well and look at its structural integrity.
It is also making a temporary interconnection with the Country Manor water system to allow for the transfer of water and plans to permanently interconnect the two systems later. For the last week, trucks have been carting in about 15,000 gallons of water to the system each day before the connection was official up and running Friday, according to Patla.
“It wasn’t something that we could have predicted, it wasn’t something that we’ve seen. So we don’t know what caused it but we needed to supplement the supply so that we can begin that investigation to get to a permanent fix,” he said.
Connecticut Water is instituting a mandatory ban on outdoor water use for consumers of the affected by this and taking steps to reduce unaccounted-for water, including not adding any new consumers to the system without review and approval from Department of Public Health.
Town Manager Andrew Tierney said Regional School District Number 8 is the top user of the water system; Hebron Car Wash is the second.
Hebron Car Wash owner Ryan Hallin said Connecticut Water will help with the expenses to turn on his water recycling plant to cut back use. But the maintenance of it and the increase in electricity usage for the system are concerns he has about his bottom line.
“They’re going to help me get it started and we’re going to try to cut back somewhere between 30 to 50 percent of the water usage” Hallin said, adding while water use will likely go down, his electric bill costs double his water bill.
“I’ll continuously do it forever if I have to. Whatever it takes for me to stay in business,” Hallin said.
Hebron Fire Chief Nick Wallick said from a public safety perspective, the town is almost not affected because the municipal system has storage tanks and the department has a sound mutual aid system.
“The water system is pretty new in town. It’s only been in town a few years and we’re used to water shuttles and bringing water in trucks to begin with,” Wallick said.
A school official with Regional School District Number 8 said the schools haven’t noticed a difference either. But school is out next week so there won’t be as much flushing, hand washing or water usage overall.