5th District Congresswoamn Elizabeth Esty is urging federal officials to provide more financial resources to help states protect public drinking water.
Esty said in a letter released Wednesday that Connecticut's Department of Public Health needs more money to support technical staff in its drinking water division, where staffing has been reduced from 50 to 38 employees.
She also supports the agency's request for more funding to pay for the state's certified operator program. There's one person who certifies operators of 2,500 water systems in Connecticut.
Esty called for the federal financial assistance after a recent Associated Press analysis determined dozens of water systems across the state exceeded federal lead levels at least once since January 2013. Among the systems were Hawthorne Terrace Association in Danbury and Cedarhurst Association in Newtown.
The Democrat says "immediate action" is needed to ensure access to safe drinking water.
Lead levels of over 15 parts per billion (ppb) exceed federal thresholds and require immediate attention. According to an Associated Press analysis, tests on water drawn from Newtown found lead levels of 17 ppb. Three separate tests in Brookfield, one of which was conducted in a K-8 school, found the water to have lead levels of 17 ppb, 19 ppb, and 20 ppb. The Connecticut Department of Public Health alerted all residents who are exposed to the water. However, if the residents choose to purchase clean water from another source, they are still expected to pay their water bills.