Agricultural Guidance

Guidance for Water Utilities On Dealing with 
Agricultural Pollution Issues in Connecticut

November 2001

Produced by:
American Waterworks Association, Connecticut Section
Source Water Protection Committee

I. Introduction

The purpose of this guidance manual is to assist water utilities in Connecticut with identifying and resolving actual or potential pollution problems due to agricultural activities within their public water supply source areas. Such problems may include:

  1. microbial threats from improper manure storage and use or animal management;
  2. oil or chemical threats from improper storage and use of fuels, fertilizers and pesticides;
  3. erosion and sedimentation due to inadequate water management practices.

Pollution threats may be identified in several ways including regular watershed inspections, reservoir and tributary stream water quality sampling results, or complaints from nearby property owners or citizens.

Once an issue has been identified, it is critical that a strategy be developed to achieve its correction. Mapping out the steps in the correction process early on can save a great deal of time, effort and frustration. The problem needs to be thoroughly and accurately documented and appropriate regulatory authorities need to be brought into the process early. While it is important to try to maintain a working relationship with the responsible party, water utilities and their staff should avoid assuming direct responsibility for correction of pollution problems. All findings should be reported in writing to the regulatory authorities and the responsible party.

II. Source Protection Laws and Regulations

The following briefly summarizes laws and regulations in Connecticut that may be applicable to controlling pollution sources from agricultural activities. This summary is only intended to be used as a resource for developing strategies for controlling pollution problems, and is not all-inclusive. You should contact an attorney for specific legal guidance.

  • Pollution abatement

Local directors of health are required under PHC Sec. 19-13-B2 to investigate and issues orders for the abatement of sources of pollution which are brought to their attention.
DPH may issue an order under CGS Sec. 25-32g to abate or correct an immediate threat to the quality or adequacy of any source of water supply
DPH is required under CGS Sec. 25-34 to investigate potential sources of pollution to water supply systems and make orders as necessary against water suppliers or polluters to protect such water supply.
The DEP has authority under CGS Sec. 22a-428 and 429 to issue administrative orders to abate pollution caused by any activity that is causing or threatening to cause pollution of the waters of the State.
Under the federal Clean Water Act, the DEP is authorized to regulate concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), which are defined as facilities with 1,000 or more animal units, and in some circumstances fewer animal units.

  • Watershed and Aquifer Protection Area Land Development

An applicant to a local planning and zoning commission for a proposed development project in a public water supply watershed or aquifer area must notify the affected water utility under CGS Sec. 8-3i; such notification must also be made by an applicant to local wetlands commission for a project in a watershed area under CGS Sec. 22a-42f

  • Public Health

CGS Sec 25-38 establishes a fine for leaving an animal carcass in a public water supply reservoir.
CGS Sec 25-39 
establishes a fine for intentionally polluting a drinking water well.
CGS Sec. 25-43 prohibits discharge or washing by surface flow of pollutants to reservoirs and their tributaries, and establishes penalties for violations.
PHC Sec. 19-13-B32 establishes special sanitary conditions applicable within public water supply watersheds. Special conditions pertain to sewage disposal systems; management of animal manure; disposal of toxic metals, gasoline, oil or pesticide; use of fertilizer; use of sodium chloride de-icing agents; and design of stormwater drainage facilities.

  • Water Quality

CGS Sec. 22a-426 requires the DEP to adopt water quality standards for all waters of the state.
CGS Sec. 22a-427 
prohibits any person or municipality from causing pollution of any waters of the state or maintaining a discharge of any treated or untreated wastes in violation of applicable laws.
CGS Sec. 22a-430
 provides for DEP to issue permits, including general permits, for wastewater discharges into the waters of the state in accordance with established water quality standards
CGS Sec. 22a-432
 allows DEP to issue a pollution abatement order to any person who has established a facility or created a condition or is maintaining any facility or condition which reasonably can be expected to create a source of pollution to the waters of the state.
CGS Sec. 22a-451
 establishes that the party responsible for an oil or chemical spill is liable for the costs of cleanup.

  • Wetlands

CGS Sec. 22a-36 through 22a-45 require regulation of all areas with wetland soils (defined as poorly drained, very poorly drained, or floodplain soils) and watercourses. Administered mostly by local inland wetlands agencies with oversight from DEP. DEP administers regulations for some municipalities directly.
CGS Sec. 22a-6b allows DEP to issue penalties for inland wetland law violations and appeal regulations, orders and decisions to Superior Court.

  • Sediment and Erosion Control

CGS Sec. 229-328 requires a statewide coordinated erosion and sediment control program be established and implemented to reduce the danger from stormwater runoff, minimize nonpoint source sediment pollution and protect the land, water, air and other environmental resources. It requires the Council on Soil and Water Conservation to develop guidelines for soil erosion and sediment control.

  • Other

CGS Sec. 22a-46 to 22a-66z requires DEP to regulate the use of pesticides including their use in water.Section 22a-66-3 of the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies states that "no water to be used in pesticide applications shall be drawn from any stream or pond leading to a potable water supply reservoir." Aerial spraying of pesticides cannot occur within 200 feet of a reservoir. An agreement between DEP and DPH dated May 1994 grants DEP sole responsibility for review of pesticide permits in public water supply watersheds and defines the chemicals which are allowed, prohibited, and allowed under specified conditions within public water supply watersheds.
CGS Sec. 22a-449(d)-1 provides for the DEP to regulate non-residential underground fuel storage tanks containing petroleum products.
CGS Sec. 29-307b requires notification to a water company of the presence or elimination of hazardous materials.

III. Inspection and Follow-up Procedures

These procedures provide guidance for water utility personnel on

  • what to do to prepare for and conduct a site inspection where an agricultural pollution problem is known or suspected, and
  • how to follow-up to resolve a problem once it has been confirmed on-site.

Small systems that have limited resources and expertise to contribute to the process may have to rely more heavily on the regulatory agencies. Nevertheless, the more actively involved that water utility personnel can be in the process, the greater the chances of successfully resolving the problem.

A.  Pre-Inspection

    1. Review previous inspection records
    2. Review topographic maps, aerial photos, aquifer maps, assessors maps
    3. Review agricultural BMPs documents
    4. Contact NRCS and the DEP about the availability of an agricultural waste management plan, CAFO permits, previous DEP inspection records, etc.
    5. Become familiar with site layout, topography
    6. Locate site relative to source of supply and tributaries
    7. Characterize flow pathways and estimated travel times from site to source of supply
    8. Identify pollution risk areas
    9. Prepare base map of site and surrounding watercourses
    10. Identify possible water quality monitoring locations
    11. Review available water quality data - upstream and downstream if possible
    12. Assemble appropriate sample bottles based on potential types of pollutants on site

B.  During Inspection

      1. Schedule an inspection with the site owner or operator
      2. Perform comprehensive inspections of the following facilities and areas:

paddocksmanure storage piles, lagoons
fields where manure is spread
pesticide, fertilizer and other chemical storage structures
fuel storage tanks
equipment maintenance facilities
detention basins, catchbasins, outfalls, surrounding watercourses and wetlands

      1. Identify and Evaluate:

Surface water flow paths and distances from manure and chemical/fuel storage and use areas to watercourses.

Adequacy of manure and chemical/fuel containment areas - consider protection from rainfall, diversion of external water flows, separating distances from watercourses.

Use and adequacy of animal exclusion fencing

Erosion potential considering extent of soil disturbance, grazing patterns, tilling practices, existence of buffer areas

Factors affecting pollutant transport to watercourses including:
vegetative cover
water flow paths
areas of concentration of surface flows
discharge locations of water from surface flow and subsurface drains
diversion structures (e.g., berms)
containment structures (e.g., detention basins)
flow dissipating structures.
Types of pesticides, fertilizers, chemicals and fuels used.
Evidence of contamination
Leaking tanks, drums, containers
Stains on soil or pavement
Oil sheen or discoloration of water in nearby watercourses, catchbasins, storm drain outfalls.

    1. Document

Areas of risk through photos, site sketches, notes

Types and quantities of chemicals and fuels used

Sample active discharges where pollution suspected

C.  Post-Inspection

    1. Discuss inspection findings with the property owner or facility operator.
    2. Report known or suspected pollution problems to appropriate authorities (all incidents should be reported to DPH Water Supplies Section):

Manure discharges - local health dept., DEP Water Management
Oil/Chemical spills or discharges - DEP Oil and Chemical Spills
Erosion & sedimentation - local P&Z, wetlands commissions, DEP Inland Water Resources
Pesticide storage/use - DEP Pesticides

    1. Map areas of concern showing pollution sources, discharge routes, sample locations
    2. Discuss finding and re-inspect site with appropriate regulatory authorities and/or NRCS
    3. Develop sampling plan for documenting water quality impacts:

Discharge points near pollution sources, upstream and downstream locations, monitoring wells
Appropriate parameters to assess problem
Manure - total and fecal coliform, crypto, giardia
Petroleum – VOCs, total petroleum hydrocarbons
E&S - turbidity, suspended solids, settleable solids
Pesticides - review chemicals used and compare to SOCs list
Frequency depends on risk, nature of problem, cost of testing 
     weekly or monthly for bacteria and physical parameters
     monthly or quarterly for VOCs  
     semi-annually or annually for selected SOCs

  1. Inspect and sample during or immediately after heavy rain events - document with photos, video, sketches
  2. Communicate all findings in writing to the owner/operator and appropriate regulatory authorities.
  3. Request in writing that DPH and/or DEP as appropriate issue a Notice of Violation and/or pollution abatement order.
  4. If problems are not resolved within a reasonable time period, progressively elevate communication to higher levels of authority (i.e., local health dept. to DPH, DEP Division Director to Bureau Chief, DEP to EPA).
  5. Report in annual watershed survey report to the DPH.

IV. Regulatory and Resource Agency Contacts

The following agencies and contacts, grouped as either "regulatory" or "resource" agencies, may be helpful in resolving various types of agricultural pollution issues. The responsibilities of each agency contact are briefly described.

A. Regulatory Agencies

Department of Environmental Protection

General Information  (860) 424-3000
Aquifer Protection    
Rob Hust 860-424-3718
Corrine Fitting  860-424-3724
Inland Wetlands    
Marla Butts 860-424-3863
NPS Management    
Stan Zaremba 860-424-3730
Office of Pollution Prevention    
Kim Trella 860-424-3297
Mary Sherwin 860-424-3297  
Judy Singer 860-424-3369
Water Permitting & Enforcement    
Warren Herzig  860-424-3801
Joe Wetteman 860-424-3802
Water Quality Classification and Standards
Rob Hust 860-424-3718
Watershed Management    
Connecticut River - Charlie Fredette  860-424-3714

Housatonic River - Susan Peterson 860-424-3854
Quinnipiac River - Sally Synder 860-424-3869
Southwest - Chris Malik 860-424-3959
Thames River - Eric Thomas 860-424-3548
Department of Public Health
Water Supplies Section (860) 509-7333  
Source Protection    
Lori Mathieu (860) 509-7343
Water Quality – refer to the regional engineer for your area
Environmental Protection Agency
Region I Office, Boston 888-372-7341
Mel Cote 617-918-1553
Headquarters, Washington 202-260-2090  
Confined Animal Feeding    
Operation (CAFO) Hotline 202-564-0766  


B. Resource Agencies

US Dept of Agriculture (USDA), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) 
State Office 860-871-4011
State Soil Scientist - Kipen Kolesinskas 860-871-4047
Service Centers    
Brooklyn 860-774-8397  
Norwich  860-887-3604  
Torrington 860-626-8258  
Wallingford  203-269-7509  
Windsor 860-688-7725
State Department of Agriculture 860-713-2500   
State Veternarian - Dr. Mary Lis 860-713-2505
USDA Farm Services Agency    
John Breakell 860-871-2944  
CT Association of 
Conservation Districts
CT Council on 
Soil & Water Conservation
Soil & Water Conservation Districts    
Fairfield and New Haven Counties 203-769-7509
Hartford County 860-688-7725
Litchfield County  860-626-7222
Middlesex County 860-346-3282
New London County 860-887-4163
Tolland County 860-875-3881
Windham County  860-774-0224
Agricultural Experiment Stations
New Haven 203-789-7272 or 203-974-8500  
Windsor  860-683-4977  
Cooperative Extension Service - Non-point Source Education for Municipal Officials (NEMO) 
Chet Arnold 860-345-5411
State Aquaculture Extension
CT Sea Grant College Program    
Tessa Simlick  860-405-9104
New London Cooperative Extension    
Dr. Lance Stewart  860-536-7154

CTAWWA • 90 Sargent Drive • New Haven, CT 06511
Telephone: (860) 604-8996 • Fax: (860) 953-3051 • Email: