Bethel, CT Water Supply Resource Inventory

Emergency Planning
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Each of the ten municipal plans of conservation and development has policies towards aquifers. Bethel's and the other nine have been copied and placed into one regional file to facilitate comparisons.

1) Sympaug Brook Aquifer: This aquifer is within the basin of northward draining Sympaug Brook in western Bethel. This gentle valley contains the Sympaug Brook Aquifer, of about 1110 acres (this and aquifer acreages below indicate the area of saturated thickness of ten feet or greater).

This large aquifer is generally centered along the railroad line, with its best deposits south of the Downtown Area. There is a small extension of the Sympaug Brook Aquifer westerly into Danbury along Route 53.

2) East Swamp Aquifer: Then starting just to the northeast of Downtown Bethel at about Milwaukee Avenue, continuing north along Maple Avenue and Plumtrees Road, continuing north to Meckauer Park and then into Danbury just east of Shelter Rock, will be found the East Swamp Aquifer. The area is about 870 acres.

This water supply resource lies along the valley of northward flowing East Swamp Brook to Limekiln Brook, and then northerly along Limekiln Brook.

3) Dibbles's Brook Aquifer: In the Stony Hill section generally to the east of Old Hawleyville Road is found the Dibble's Brook Aquifer, sized at 540 acres. Beginning along Weed Road it follows the south flowing brook of that name. It including a slight extension into Newtown south of Walnut Hill Road.

4) Limekiln Brook Aquifer: Then further east, to the east of Old Hawleyville Road before it intersects with Route 302, is found the Limekiln Brook Aquifer. with 390 acres of saturated thickness of ten feet or greater. This aquifer then extends along Limekiln Brook into the Dodgingtown section of Newtown, between Flat Swamp Road and Hattertown Road.


About 26% of Bethel's total land area, approximately 2,837 acres in the southern part of the municipality, is classified by CT DEP as existing or potential water supply watershed land.

The CT Department of Public Health has recommended enactment of an overlay protection zone for these fragile areas, and this HVCEO report provides the details.

That draining to the south is used by the Aquarion Water Company. The water draining northerly from these lands is used (or in the case of number 4 on the map, Wolf Pit Brook, may potentially be used) as water supply for central Bethel, which has had a municipal water supply since 1878.

1) Aspetuck River Watershed: Water draining southward from about 430 acres in the southeastern most tip of Bethel in the Aspetuck River Watershed flows thru Redding to the Aspetuck Reservoir and then Hemlock Reservoir in Easton and Fairfield. Some of this drinking water is then pumped back up gradient into the Region, to Ridgefield, CT.

2) Saugatuck River Watershed: Water draining southward from three separate areas totaling to about 550 acres along the Bethel-Danbury and Bethel-Redding Town Lines are part of the Saugatuck River Watershed.

These drainage patterns are via a) the west side of Bogus Mountain draining to Bogus Mountain Brook, b) an unnamed brook east of Route 53 flowing into Redding and c) both east and west of Route 58 draining to Putnam Park Pond and then the Little River, then continuing south into the Saugatuck Reservoir in Redding.

3) Sympaug Brook Watershed: Two parts of the Sympaug Brook Watershed are used for drinking supply purposes, both northerly in their orientation.

3A) The first is from about 230 acres northeast of the F. P. Clarke Industrial Park near the Danbury City Line flowing into Murphy's Brook, which is an emergency supply source for the Bethel Water Department.

Note that Bethel is served by the Eureka Reservoir and Mountain Pond Reservoir. These are owned by Bethel but are located to the west of the town line, in a part of the Sympaug Brook Watershed located in adjacent Danbury. See also the CT Department of Public Health's assessment report for the Chestnut Ridge and Eureka Lake Reservoirs.

3B) The second includes the waters from about 250 acres starting at the Redding Town Line and flowing north into Bethel's Chestnut Ridge Reservoir.

4) Wolf Pit Brook Watershed: This Brook is in southern Bethel and parallels Route 58 on its eastern side. The size of the watershed in Bethel is about 1,277 acres. The 2004 - 2009 Connecticut Conservation and Development Policies Plan for Connecticut designates the Wolf Pit Brook Watershed as a potential future water supply source.


The safe yield for Bethel's two surface water sources combined is .50 million gallons per day. According to the 2006 Bethel Water Supply Plan “The Eureka Lake supply has taste and odor problems that the existing treatment plant cannot mitigate. The Chestnut Ridge supply is reliant on an aged treatment plant in poor condition.

Of the two plants, the Chestnut Ridge plant presents the more difficult situation. As the lone source of supply for the High Service Area it must be kept in operation continuously, however there is no available space to build a new plant without removing the existing one. Therefore, whether the Bethel Water Department decided to replace the plant or abandon the source, additional supply development is essential.”

Continuing, “The Bethel Water Department has been actively pursuing the development of additional wells behind the Police Station in the East Swamp Aquifer. Water quality and groundwater withdrawal potential has been evaluated and the area deemed a suitable supply development site. Diversion permit applications are currently underway.

Once the additional supply source is developed, an evaluation will need to be made to determine the long term costs of pumping from the East Swamp Aquifer to the High Service Area versus the replacement cost of the Chestnut Ridge Treatment Plant.”


Water Main Connections to Danbury: As shown in this 2006 study, there are potential interconnections for Northern Bethel and also interconnections for Central Bethel.


The Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (CT DEP) has developed water quality standards in conjunction with the principles of the federal Clean Water Act.

As a result each stream or water body in the Region has two classifications, one for existing use, and one for ultimate future use, written in a existing/future format such as "B/A" or "A/AA". The highest standards are reserved of existing and potential water supply areas, which are AA.

The DEP seeks to bring every water body in the State to a minimum classification of "B" or better, which would not be suitable for human consumption without treatment, but could be suitable for recreational use, fish and wildlife habitat, agricultural and industrial supply, and other legitimate uses.

There is a non degradation policy such that stream now AA or A cannot be reduced to B to allow discharges from industries or treatment plants. The classification system and application to Bethel is summarized below:

Class AA: Designated uses are existing or proposed drinking water supply, fish and wildlife habitat, some recreational use, agricultural and industrial supply. Discharges severely restricted.

Class A: Designated uses is potential drinking water supply; fish and wildlife habitat; recreational use; agricultural and industrial supply and other legitimate uses including navigation. Discharges severely restricted. No reclassification of A or AA allowed down to B.

Class B: Designated uses are varied and include discharges from industrial and municipal wastewater treatment facilities providing Best Available Treatment and Best Management Practices are applied. All water bodies must eventually reach the minimum standards of the B classification.

Classes C and D: Indicates unacceptable quality, the goal is Class B or Class A and DEP will issue orders to require improvement.

  1. Aspetuck Reservoir tributaries reaching north into Bethel from Redding and Newtown: AA/AA.
  2. Bethel Reservoir Brook from west of Hudson Street north to the Danbury City Line: B/A.
  3. Chestnut Ridge Reservoir and its tributaries: AA/AA.
  4. Murphy Brook (a.k.a. Braunies Brook) from source in Danbury to pump station at Reservoir Street: AA/AA.
  5. Saugatuck Reservoir tributaries reaching north into Bethel from Danbury and Redding: AA/AA.
  6. Sympaug Brook from Sympaug Pond and the old Bethel Landfill flowing north to just north of railroad bridge: B/A. Sympaug Brook continuing, from just north of railroad bridge north to Danbury City Line: B/B.
  7. Wolf Pit Brook and tributaries that are upstream of a point just north of the intersection of Route 58 with Hoyts Hill Road: A/AA.
  8. All other streams in Bethel such as Chestnut Brook, Dibble’s Brook, East Swamp Brook, Limekiln Brook, etc: A/A.



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