50-100 homeowners with wells running out of water per week due to drought

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TORRINGTON -- Private wells across the Northeastern United States are drying up in the face of a punishing drought that has lasted for months.

Scores of homeowners from Vermont to Connecticut with shallow wells have in the past month found them depending upon relatives and neighbors for bottled water to bathe, cook, and drink. Those with the much deeper, underground wells have largely been spared.

"All the wells that are shallower are drying up because there's just no water in the ground," said Larry Grela, president of Terryville-based Grela Well Drilling Inc. "We're getting 50 to 100 calls a week of families without water. We are delivering water with portable tankers, we're connecting wells as fast as we can."

The drought, the worst seen in more than a decade, has been devastating to many farmers, and has meant water restrictions in many places. It is also threatening to disrupt the region's fall foliage season that is so important to the tourism industry.

"If we don't get some serious rain to penetrate the ground prior to the frost coming in, we won't have water in the ground for this winter," said Grella.

The Environmental Protection Agency says about 2.3 million people, or 20 percent of the New England population, get their water from private wells.