Multi-Agency Collaboration Keeps Residents Informed
(PUTNAM) – On March 21, 2022 the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) alerted the Northeast District Department of Health (NDDH) that they were investigating the release of approximately 25,000 gallons of #2 fuel oil from an above-ground storage tank located at 10 Mary Crest Drive in Putnam. The release was originally contained within an older containment area with a clay floor that reduced, though did not prevent the migration of the fuel to the ground. Cleanup began quickly and the spill continues to be monitored and addressed by appropriate authorities. Some portion of the release was contained and some escaped to the environment, with the potential to impact other properties.
To date, there is no evidence that fuel has made its way into ground water that feeds nearby wells, but responding agencies are meeting regularly to coordinate efforts and take pro-active steps to protect public health and the environment.
“NDDH is one of a number of local, state, and federal agencies responding to this incident,” said NDDH Director of Health Susan Starkey. “We are all working together to achieve common goals of protecting public health and minimizing anythe adverse environmental impact. Notification letters were delivered to homeowners who have private drinking wells located in the vicinity of the spill. NDDH sanitarians are collecting water samples for analysis by the CT Department of Public Health (DPH) laboratory, and bottled water is being provided to those homeowners for drinking and cooking purposes until further information is collected and appropriate action identified.”
Residents in the affected area were advised to monitor their water quality and may contact NDDH to arrange for testing of their well water. Water should not be consumed if there is a taste or smell of fuel to it or if there are changes in the appearance of it. If this occurs, contact NDDH immediately at 860-774-7350.
“It’s a very large and well-coordinated effort,” explained Starkey. “NDDH is collecting samples and providing information on water quality and safety. The Town of Putnam is working with the state’s Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security (DEMHS) and the responsible party to secure a temporary supply of bottled water and continues to monitor the situation closely. DEEP is coordinating cleanup operations and is working with the responsible party and environmental professionals to investigate the extent of the release. The CT Department of Public Health Environmental Health and Drinking Water Branch (DPH/EHDWB) is providing guidance to protect health. Officials from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have also been on site to aid in the investigation.”
Starkey emphasized that the potential for health impacts if contamination does occur should be taken seriously.
“We remind residents in the area that we do not yet have any indications that well water has been compromised, but we continue to take precautions and pro-active steps to protect their health.
I encourage the homeowners with the private wells in the vicinity of the spill to contact NDDH to discuss testing of your water, even if you do not taste or smell fuel in your water at this time.”
Water sampling test results expected early next week will determine next steps.