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Winsted’s water is crystal clear

Americans are paying greater attention to their water quality in the wake of the highly publicized lead water contamination in Flint, Mich. It is important that citizens remain informed about the quality of their municipal water supply. The good news: Winsted public water is clean and safe.

The Flint water crisis resulted from two errors. First, the town changed its water source from treated Detroit city water from Lake Huron and the Detroit River to the Flint River. They failed to treat the new water properly. Second, this water traveled through Flint’s distribution system of aging lead pipes. Neither of these problems are present in the Winsted water system.

Winsted has a consistent source of high quality water from Crystal Lake and Rugg Brook. This has been true since 1892, when William L. Gilbert, funded a project that connected Crystal Lake to Rugg Brook via a tunnel, establishing Winsted’s public water supply. Winsted’s main water distribution system contains no lead pipes and no lead is used to join water mains. All lead service connection pipes were replaced in the 1950’s with copper and brass.

To ensure this level of quality Winsted Water strictly adheres to state and federal water testing regulations. Due to Winsted’s consistently clean test results, Winsted was granted permission to test every three years. These triannual tests take place at 22 different indoor faucet locations, chosen to provide sample diversity. In addition to triannual testing, weekly samples are tested from four locations. The raw water at Crystal Lake is also tested. Winsted’s water consistently tests at .5ppb (parts per billion) for lead, a very low and naturally occurring result, as the Environmental Protection Agency established 15 ppb as the action level.

Winsted’s water and lines are lead-free, but it is still possible for residents to have lead contamination problems. Winsted’s Water Department is not responsible for home connection service pipes that lead from your home to the municipal service pipe attached to the water main. Nearly all service pipes have been upgraded to copper but there are still a few lead home connection lines remaining in town. Homes that have plumbing installed before 1930 are most likely to have pipes containing lead. New homes may also have higher levels of lead contamination because lead solder is often used with copper pipes in U.S. homes. Lead levels decrease as plumbing ages because mineral deposits form a coating on the inside of pipes that prevents water from coming into contact with lead solder. To ensure higher water quality the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises homeowners to take precautionary steps after plumbing work, including having water tested and flushing water lines before use.

So don’t waste money on water sold in bottles. Winsted water can quench your thirst.


Cecilia Petricone is an intern at the Office of the Community Lawyer. She is a graduate of Northwestern Regional High School and a freshman at Boston College.

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