Meriden officials speak out on contaminated water issues

MERIDEN — Many residents living in Meriden are upset over a notice they received in the mail about their water being contaminated for months with the city knowing, however. they weren’t told until this week.

“I’m scared I don’t want to drink the water, I don’t want to cook with the water. I boiled bottled waters last night to make my son macaroni and cheese for dinner cause I’m just so afraid,” said Ashley Pires who lives in Meriden on one of the streets that had contaminated water.

Pires added she also gave her dog the water too. Pires lives on Johnson Avenue which is where the contaminated water was found, also on its side streets and on West Main Street.

Robert Peter who’s the superintendent of operations of water and wastewater said he found out drinking water in Meriden was contaminated in November, but the levels rose to a tier 2 around January 1st.

Peter said he made a mistake by letting a pollutant get in the water. The notice sent explains the level of haloacetic acids exceeded the city’s water standards.

Peter said he tests water quarterly so after the first quarter from January 1 to March 31, he noticed the water was contaminated at a tier 2. Now at the end of the second quarter is when residents are being notified now that levels are below maximum contamination.

“We’re about half of what the contamination level is now we got a .031 and a .027 at these two sites,” said Peter.

He said he didn't notify residents after the first quarter because he was following guidelines from the department of public health which has a contamination scale of one to three. One being the most dangerous, fell at tier 2, which is a chronic pollutant health effect meaning it would take a long time of consumption to have a health effect.

A tier 1 would be bacteria or a pathogen where you get sick right away. In those cases, people would be notified within 24 hours.

Peter said he doesn't know how long you have to drink the water before you see health effects and said he cautions residents from blaming it for any illnesses.

“I wouldn’t be surprised, we’re always looking for a reason why things are happening so you have a problem with the water you associate it with that, you’re gonna find people that are gonna associate their problems with what happened in any situation are upset in the system will cause an upset in society,” Peter said.

Pires said she's spending extra money to buy bottled water for her whole house even though Peter said the water is safe to drink now.

“I’m not gonna believe them I’m gonna continue drinking the bottled water,” Pires said. “The city definitely let us down they’re still letting us down, they’re not going to give us any money off of our water they’re not gonna give us free water.”