State looks for solution in water contamination case - WFSB 3 Connecticut

I-Team Investigation

State looks for solution in water contamination case

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Families with contaminated water are wondering why the state hasn't found a solution (WFSB) Families with contaminated water are wondering why the state hasn't found a solution (WFSB)

Problems most families don't even have to think about are ruining the lives of others.

On Monday, the Channel 3 I-Team introduced viewers to a couple of families who are living a nightmare.

The water that flows from their taps has sodium and chloride levels that are off the charts, essentially making it toxic.

The I-Team got the state to admit the problem was theirs, but now it’s time to figure out a solution.

Officials from the state say the salt coming from their storage shed is the source of the problem, but they don't know how it's happening and that's preventing them from implementing a permanent solution.

The Maldonado family in Woodstock replaced their pipes just last year.

“We spent north of $10,000 in replacements just in the past 10 years just from corrosion issues,” said Monique Maldonado.

The Channel 3 I-Team tested their water and the water of the neighboring Regis family.

Both came back with dangerous sodium and chloride levels.

The state approved limit for chloride is 250. The Maldonado’s check in at 1300. 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.

“We've been pleading with the Department of Transportation for a year now. They've been silent,” Maldonado said.

The Channel 3 I-Team got them talking.

“The salt in those homeowners’ wells is coming from the DOT's salt facility. Exactly where and how is what we're trying to determine,” said DOT Spokesman Kevin Nursick.

The salt shed is located on Route 198.

The state says it's one of the newer ones, specifically designed to not have chemicals permeate the groundwater.

State investigators are still trying to pinpoint the true cause, but in the meantime, they're looking at where plowed snow was dumped in years past.

“Don't put it on the grass where it can leach into the groundwater, but keep it on the pavement where it will go into the catch basins where it will go to the storm water systems where it will take it far away from these homeowners' properties,” Nursick said.

They also installed curbs over the summer in an attempt to direct the run-off water away from homes and toward catch basins. But the permanent solution just isn't there yet and won't be until the state figures out why this is happening.

“The permanent solution will be dictated by the cause,” Nursick said.

The state says what the Maldonado’s and Regis' are going through happened about a dozen times before, but this case is especially frustrating because the typical solution just isn't an option in Woodstock.

I”f they had the ability, to connect them to city water. We don't have city water out there. Would a deeper well solve the problem, would a water treatment system solve the problem, these are questions that need to be answered,” Nursick said.

The families have been waiting for more than a year for them to be answered, all while watching helplessly as their pipes rot away.

The families say the fact that the state is admitting to the problem but providing no tangible solution makes it more frustrating.

“There's no light at the end of the tunnel which is what's frustrating to us and our neighbors,” Maldonado said.

In the meantime, this problem hasn't just been a money trap.

Channel 3 asked medical experts about what could happen physically to people forced to bathe in water with extreme amounts of chloride and sodium, and got responses that range from extreme skin dryness to eczema and brittle hair, all things that families say they have been experiencing.

The state has recently updated Channel 3 about a potential solution and timeline.

They say they'll be putting in a device that will isolate the well from the upper aquifer system.

If this prevents the salt from coming in, that will be the solution. If not, a treatment system will be installed.

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