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Water Utility to Treat for Radon Contamination

Fortnightly Magazine - July 1 1997

Responding to a high level of consumer concern, the Connecticut Department of Public Utility Control has directed a water utility to treat supplies from one of its underground supply sources to reduce radon contamination.

The department said Bridgeport Hydraulic Co. could recover the costs over three years through a surcharge on customers in its Litchfield division who use the contaminated water. The department acknowledged there is no public health standard for radon in drinking water. However, it found that federal law required development of such standards by the Environmental Protection Agency by 1999. It also found the utility could economically reduce radon levels using a form of aeration treatment.

The department rejected a proposal to direct the water company to spread the costs among all customers. It found that such action would "constitute unreasonable discrimination" in favor of the Litchfield customers since similar or higher radon levels exist in most portions of the utility's system. The department also decided not to require system-wide treatment because of customer complaints in other areas and concerns about the effects an increase in water rates might have on business development in the state. Re Bridgeport Hydraulic Co., Docket No. 96-08-17, April 2, 1997 (Conn.D.P.U.).


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