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Frequently Asked Questions of the Health Department


Q: Where can I have my well water tested?

A: Well water may be sampled and analyzed by any State certified laboratory. A listing of qualified laboratories may be found on the Connecticut Department of Public Health’s webpage, www.ct.gov/dph . Click on programs and services, scroll down to and click on laboratories and click on instate approved commercial environmental labs.

Q: What is the depth and yield of my well?

A: If the well was drilled in the 1970’s or later, there should be a well completion report on file in our office. Also, information may be available concerning the submersible pump that was installed within the well.

Q: I have been advised to sanitize my well; how do I proceed?

A: The procedure for sanitizing a well can be emailed to you. You or your water system contractor may perform the sanitization.

Q: Where is my septic tank located?

A: The Department has as-built plans (location sketches) of septic systems for many of the properties in Town, both commercial and residential. The as-built plan can be faxed to you or your licensed septic tank cleaner.

Q: How often should the septic tank be cleaned?

A: A CT licensed pumper should clean the tank at least once every 5 years or more frequently if his inspection reveals unusually high volumes of solids or scum. Septic tanks installed since 1991 have two chambers, so be sure that the contractor inspects/cleans both chambers.

Q: If I use a septic tank additive, can I avoid the cost of cleaning the septic tank?

A: The septic tank allows for biological treatment of the household’s waste. There is no need to enhance the process and some additives can cause harm to the leaching system that is located after the septic tank. Saving money by not cleaning the tank may result in shortening the life of the leaching system and the need for costly repairs or replacement.

Q: Does my home contain lead paint?

A: Many homes built before 1978 contain lead-based paint. Ingestion of lead-based paint flakes or dust can cause health problems for pets and people, especially children. You may obtain additional information from the Health Department or you make go the CT Department of Public Health’s webpage, www.ct.gov/dph, click on programs and services, scroll down to and click on lead. Caution should taken when remodeling a house or preparing surfaces for paint.

Q: How do I know if my house has a radon problem?

A: Radon is a colorless and odorless gas and is undetectable unless a test kit is purchased and properly located within the home. The kits are inexpensive and can be found at hardware stores and home supply centers. Testing of the air within the home during the winter is advised. The Health Department may have a limited supply of kits available in January, which is National Radon Action Month. More information can be found at www.ct.gov/dph , click on programs and services, scroll down to and click on radon.

Q: Does the Town of Durham sponsor a flu clinic?

A: A flu clinic is held annually in late October or early November. Notice of the event is provided via the Town’s website, via local newspaper and through the American Lung Association.

Q: Where can I obtain information concerning rabies, West Nile virus, Lyme disease, and childhood and adult immunizations?

A: A large volume of information can be obtained on the CT Department of Public Health’s webpage, www.ct.gov/dph followed by clicking on programs and services and scrolling down to the appropriate subjects.

Q: How can my family prepare for a natural disaster, a pandemic flu or a terrorist event?

A: You should put together a “Go Kit”, stock up on essentials and create a plan. Excellent information can be found on the following website: www.ready.gov .