Ledyard officials testing public water after possible contamination by vandals

New London

LEDYARD, Conn. (WTNH) — During the last week so, the water authority property in Ledyard was broken into three times; the last time, the vandals did the most damage, causing concern that possibly the water supply – which supplies water to 870 households in the area – could have been contaminated.

Related: Boil water advisory in effect after vandalism discovered at pump station in Ledyard

News 8 was told that last week the vandals came in twice and sprayed paint on two sheds and the pump house.

But, it was over the weekend that the vandals broke into one of the sheds, took out some equipment and owners manuals, and set them on fire.

The also took quarts of motor oil and threw them into the retention pond.

The biggest problem, however, is that the vandals broke into the pump house itself.

There is no evidence that they tampered with the equipment, but out of an abundance of caution, the pump house was shut down and the local residents were told not to drink or cook with their tap water unless boiled first.

Josh Cansler of the Southeastern Connecticut Water Authority told News 8, “We tested the water yesterday. We’re waiting on the results to come back.
Some of the samples have to sit for 24 hours before they can test them.
So we hope to have them back this afternoon.”

Tampering with a public water supply is a federal offense. That’s why the FBI is involved and the vandals could face some very serious charges.

“All of the equipment in there has alarms so none of the alarms were activated,” said Josh Cansler, General Manager of the Southeastern Connecticut Water Authority.

Ledyard Mayor Fred Allyn III sent a message to the town Tuesday:

“ATTENTION Southeastern CT Water Authority customers in the Gales Ferry division: Due to the “DO NOT DRINK” Advisory for SCWA Gales Ferry customers, a Public drinking water filling station is available at the rear of the Gales Ferry Fire Company at 1772 Route 12, Gales Ferry.

Residents must bring their own containers to fill. The service is available now until 8PM tonight.

I will have another conference call with CT DPH later today to confirm when SCWA Gales Ferry water is again safe to drink.

If you have a neighbor that is not able to get to the filling station, please consider helping your neighbor as well by filling an extra container or two.

If you are physically unable to get to the filling station, please call (860) 464-6400 to get on a list for delivery.”

– Mayor Fred Allyn III, Ledyard

One by one Tuesday, residents stopped by the Gales Ferry Volunteer Fire Company to fill up water jugs.

Resident Paul Bonin was the first to fill up after the “Do Not Drink the Water” advisory was put in place.

“It’s better than not going without water or you’re spending a dollar on a gallon,” said Bonin.

“There’s been past hurricanes; we’ve had to do this before so it’s not new to us,” said Gales Ferry firefighter Jeff Smith.

Smith lives in one of the 870 households which get water form the Southeastern Connecticut Water Authority.

“So, right now we can only take showers,” said Smith. “We’re drinking bottled water.”

Police continue to try to track down the vandals of the water pump station.

“Obviously we don’t want them to come back and do more damage or affect our system in any other way,” said Cansler.

“People are just doing dumb stuff around in town and it just it screws up everybody,” said Bonin.

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