Residents say salt shed is to blame for contaminated water - WFSB 3 Connecticut

I-Team Investigation

Residents say salt shed is to blame for contaminated water

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The salt in the water is affecting these family's pipes, among other things (WFSB) The salt in the water is affecting these family's pipes, among other things (WFSB)

Several residents in one small Connecticut town are claiming that living next to a salt shed has poisoned their water.

The state seems to have acknowledged there’s a problem, but after a year of the temporary solution, residents say they haven’t gotten a permanent one.

Woodstock has always had a special place in Monique Maldonado’s heart.

“My parents used to bring us to Woodstock all the time when we were younger,” Maldonado said.

So when the opportunity arose 10 years ago to call Woodstock home, she jumped on it and moved her husband and son into a home on Route 198.

It happens to be across the street from a salt storage facility.

During the course of the home buying process, the water was tested.

“Everything was fine, except for the iron. It was a little high and we figured we could live with that,” Maldonado said.

But then, things progressively got worse.

The Maldonado’s would soon need a new hot water heater.

“Our hot water heater went after two years of being here. We just thought it was worn out,” she said.

But then, there were more signs of trouble.

“Our cats getting sick and dying. The garden would be absolutely beautiful, with big plants and as soon we would water them, the next day they would be dead,” Maldonado said. “If you pour yourself a cup of coffee the next day, the whole rim just tastes like pure salt. The dry skin, the rashes, it just kept getting progressively worse over the last two years.”

It’s gotten to the point where the Maldonado’s have replaced their water heater every two years.

The family isn’t alone. The Regis family live directly south of the salt shed and are experiencing the same things.

“My furnace, completely corroded. All the pipes on it, every valve, you can’t turn anything. If you do, you have to call the plumber,” said Gary Regis.

The families went to the state looking for help. What they got was a monthly report from a contractor sent by environmental protection. They test the water each month and all it does is confirm there’s a problem.

Channel 3 did a test and sent it to “Complete Environmental Testing Labs” in Stratford and took the results back to the families.

The levels for the Maldonado’s were off the charts. The state approved limit for chloride is 250. The Maldonado’s check in at 1,300.

The Regis’ report shows 450. For sodium, the state limit is 100. The sodium in the Maldonado’s water is 390. The Regis family 120.

“It’s very consistent with what we’ve been getting over the past year, so it doesn’t surprise me at all,” Maldonado said.

“My whole house is ruined over this, and I just believe that’s ridiculously high,” Regis said.

Simply put, the water can’t be ingested. So, this is what the state has done. They’ve been delivering 12 five-gallon jugs every month to the Maldonado home. Nothing for the Regis family. The Maldonado family shares it with their neighbors and they use it to cook and drink, but they can’t bathe with it.

“The water burns your face and it burns your eyes and it gives you rashes and skin conditions,” Maldonado said.

For a year, they’ve been pleading for a permanent solution and just haven’t found it, all while their pipes continue to rot away.

“That was promised to us in June, that something would happen in July,” Maldonado said.

It’s now November, and Channel 3 went to the state looking for answers and they readily say they’ll take the blame.

“It’s all but a yes that it’s coming from our facility at this point. The question is exactly how and once we figure out how it’s doing that, then we can make remedies for these homeowners, which we intend to do,” said Department of Transportation spokesman Kevin Nursick.

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