Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Environmental Science and Policy

Second Department


First Advisor

Therese McCarty


The goal of this thesis is to explore reasons for variations in drinking water quality in the state of Connecticut, including differences in community water system (CWS) ownership. Disparities in drinking water quality have come to the forefront as an urgent environmental and public health issue after recent focusing events like the Flint Water Crisis. Using SDWA (1974) violations from 2018, I hypothesize that a CWS will experience more violations if it is publicly owned, serves more people, sources its water from surface water resources, and if it operates within a low-income and minority community. In regards to public vs. private ownership, I hypothesize that private ownership is more likely to occur in Republican-leaning communities, with lower housing densities, lower population densities, and in lower income communities. Regression results suggest that SDWA violations will increase due to increases in population, increases in the number of facilities within a CWS, if the CWS uses surface water, and if it is publicly owned. Logistic regression results suggest that if a majority of a town is Republican-leaning and has a lower housing density then the odds of having a private CWS are higher. These results are important because they suggest reasons for variation in water quality and identify characteristics of underperforming CWSs. They also present a further understanding of why private or public ownership differ among CWSs. These results could target assistance towards CWS and communities that could benefit from improved water distribution technology and compliance.