In a letter addressed to residents of the area of Montville known as Montville Manor, the Southern Connecticut Water Authority informed people that their drinking water had higher than acceptable levels of copper and the company was taking steps to correct the violation.
According to the federal Environmental Protection Agency, which enforces National Primary Drinking Water Regulations -- standards by which limiting the levels of contaminants in drinking water protects the public health – the Maximum Contaminant Level or highest level of the contaminant copper allowed in drinking water is 1.3 mg/L (or, parts per million). The copper level in the Manor water tested at 1.54 mg/L, above the so-called action level, as defined by the EPA.
The SCWA began increasing the pH level of the water to promote a decrease in copper levels, according to the letter sent to residents. The notice reported the copper levels have decreased since.
People who drink water-containing copper “in excess of the action level” may “experience gastrointestinal distress” with short-term exposure, according to the EPA. With long-term exposure people could experience liver or kidney damage. But copper in water above the action level is particularly worrisome for people with Wilson's Disease, where copper builds up in the body.
In the letter to residents, SCWA said it hopes to return to full compliance by June.
According to the EPA, SCWA has had only one monitoring and reporting violation and that was in 2004 for a “Consumer Confidence Rule Complete Failure to Report,” but no other violations.
You cannot see, taste, or smell copper that’s been dissolved in water so the only way to confirm its presence is though testing.
For lots more information about your drinking water visit the EPA’s local drinking water data on its Connecticut webpage.