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Water Quality Priority Topic

Priority Topics

River Alliance of CT > Priority Topics > Water Quality 

Water Quality

Photo courtesy of Diane Friend Edwards

2017
2016
2015
Rivers Alliance Comments on Bill 941 on Delaying Implementation of Monitoring and Assessment of Pollution of Soil and Water, Including Drinking Water
Rivers Alliance Comments on Bill 363 on Private Water Rights, with Particular Attention to Groundwater Rights
Is Connecticut Water Vulnerable To Pollution By Oil Pipeline Spills?
RA Comments on RB 6033 AAC on the Inclusion of Juices, Teas and Sports Drinks Under Connecticut's Bottle Bill
RA Comments on RB 349 AAC on Single-Use Carryout Plastic and Paper Bags and the Use of Reusable Bags
Soils could keep contaminants in wastewater from reaching groundwater, streams
2014
Sharing Knowledge on Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring: Conference Recap and Presentations
The Integrated Water Quality Report
Protecting CT's Waters for Native Fish
Research May Help Manage LIS Nutrient Loading

Water Quality Archives                                                                                 Back to Priority Topics

 

 


 River Alliance of CT > Priority Topics > Water Quality

February 15, 2017 

Comments Due on the Integrated Water Quality Report (IWQR)

slideshow of images from IWQR

Draft State of Connecticut Integrated Water Quality Report (IWQR) is available for public review and comment. Comments due Mar 13. Hearing Mar 1

WHY IT IS IMPORTANT TO REVIEW THIS REPORT AND COMMENT AS NECESSARY

This report will tell you whether a river, stream, lake, cove, or estuary has been assessed under the Clean Water Act, whether it has been found to be impaired or not, and whether remediation efforts are being considered, under way, or completed.  For any kind of planning, action, advocacy, or application for funding, this is vitally important information.   The report is lengthy and complex.  The most efficient way to gather information about a water body of interest to you is to enter the name of the water body in the “Find” box, and keep hitting “Next” until the end.  You may be surprised by what you find, or disagree, or be pleased, or want to urge DEEP to make a correction or to do more.  That is why there is a comment period. DEEP puts major resources into this effort, and we should respond.

Section 305(b) of the Federal Clean Water Act (CWA) requires each State to monitor, assess and report on the quality of its waters relative to designated uses established in accordance with the Connecticut Water Quality Standards. Section 303(d) of the CWA requires each State to list waters not meeting water quality standards and prioritize those waters for Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) development or other management. Reporting for these waters is submitted to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) every two years.

The State of Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (CT DEEP) is making available the draft State of Connecticut Integrated Water Quality Report (IWQR) for public review and comment. Interested persons may obtain copies of the draft IWQR on the CT DEEP website at http://www.ct.gov/deep/cwp/view.asp?q=325610. The IWQR has been prepared by the CT DEEP to fulfill requirements of the Federal Clean Water Act (CWA) under Sections 305(b) and 303(d). The final document will be submitted to the federal Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) following the Department’s consideration of comments received.

Written comments on the draft IWQR must be received at CT DEEP by March 13, 2017 in order to be considered prior to submission of the final IWQR to US EPA. Comments should be directed to Erik Bedan electronically at erik.bedan@ct.gov or in writing to CT DEEP, Bureau of Water Protection and Land Reuse, Planning and Standards Division, 79 Elm Street, Hartford, CT 06106-5127.

A public informational meeting has been scheduled for March 1, 2017 at 1:30 pm in the McCarthy Auditorium located on the 5th floor of the CT DEEP headquarters at 79 Elm Street in Hartford. Questions should be directed to Erik Bedan at erik.bedan@ct.gov or (860) 424-3386.

 


 River Alliance of CT > Priority Topics > Water Quality

Aug 25, 2016

Chemical Spill at Light Metals Coloring Company Southington Shuts Town Wells

Here is a statement issued by town of Southington Water Department

ATTENTION Town of Southington Residents: Chemical Spill at Light Metals Coloring Company - 270 Spring Street, Southington, CT
At this time the Southington Water Department (SWD)is working closely with the Town’s Emergency Response Team to monitor the remediation process for the chemical spill at Light Metals Coloring Company located at 270 Spring Street.
As a precaution two of the SWD’s wells were temporarily shut down until there was a better understanding of the amount, type and the remediation process of the chemical spill. We are confident the Town of Southington’s emergency response team has the situation under control and that there will be no adverse impact to the Town of Southington’s drinking water supply.
However, as a safeguard SWD will be conducting a series of water quality samples to ensure the water supply remains safe for consumption. Throughout last night, and continuing throughout this response, air, water and soil sampling have been conducted around the site of the spill. At this time, we are confident that every action has been taken to protect the public health and the environment.
If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us.
Sincerely, Frederick W. Rogers Shane Lockwood Superintendent Director Southington Water Department Plainville-Southington Health Southington, CT 06489 District P.O. Box 111 860-276-6275 860-628-5593

Links to some information about the company:
List of Contaminated sites from DEEP: http://www.ct.gov/deep/lib/deep/site_clean_up/sites/sites_s-z.pdf,
Draft Permit: http://www.ct.gov/deep/lib/deep/public_notice_attachments/draft_permits/2013march7lightmetalscoloringcoincdraftpermit.pdf

River Alliance of CTT > Priority Topics > Water Quality

July 1, 2016

CT DEEP Preliminary Waters for Action Plan Development
Q&As

DEEP's new Integrated Water Resource Management approach is DEEP's plan to guide watershed and embayment restoration and preservation planning. They developed a system to identify the first group of watersheds and embayments by seeking objective data to identify which of 184 watersheds and embayments could most successfully be restored or preserved. The main DEEP page for this program is at: http://www.ct.gov/deep/cwp/view.asp?Q=580936

A number of people in various groups have found the volume of material presented to be overwhelming, so here are our answers to some common questions. For more help, please contact DEEP's Chris Sullivan in the Planning and Standards Division christopher.sullivan@ct.govor (860) 424-3514. As always, Rivers Alliance is also happy to help.

1. Are these the only waters that will be restored or preserved?

The DEEP main page for the program addresses that question:

While many waters could benefit from developing a plan for restoration and protection, this initial list of waters represent areas where we may develop plans over the next few years while maintaining overall statewide water quality efforts. This list of potential waters will be refined based on comments received from the public and on consideration of CT DEEP resources available to support developing and implementing these plans. Over time, additional waters will be identified for development of water quality restoration and protection plans.

 

2. What river watersheds have been proposed for action plans?

Here are the river watersheds proposed for restoration and preservation planning from DEEP's Integrated Water Resource Management Approach to Restoring Water Quality. This list is arranged by those proposed for restoration planning, then protection planning.

DEEP's map of these watersheds and also the embayments follows the list.

Watershed ID Watershed Name Protect or Restore
011000050903 Pomperaug Restore
011000050801 Headwaters Still River Restore
011000050802 Limekiln Brook-Still River Restore
011000060103 Outlet Saugatuck River Restore
011000060202 Norwalk River Restore
011000040302 West River  Restore
011000040103 Headwaters Quinnipiac Restore
011000040105 Outlet Quinnipiac River Restore
011000040206  Farm River Restore
010802070602 Mill Brook-Farmington Restore
010802050203 Lower Scantic River Restore
011000030304 Niantic River Restore
011000030301 Mystic River Restore
011000030303 Stony Brook-Frontal Fishers Island Sound Restore
010900050303 Pawcatuck River Restore
010900050301 Ashaway River Protect
011000020206  Sawmill Brook- Natchaug River Protect
011000020205 Mount Hope River Protect
010802050903 Eightmile River Protect
010802050504 Roaring Brook Protect
010802070204 Lower West Branch Farmington River Protect
011000060102 Headwaters Saugatuck River Protect
011000050306  Carse Brook – Housatonic River Protect

Source: Table 7: DRAFT Preliminary list of waters for Action Plan Development by 2022 in their Technical Support Document: Identifying Watersheds for Restoration and Protection Action Plans with Connecticut Integrated Water Resource Management Efforts CT DEEP May 2016, pages 19-20 (of 50).

Click on the map to get a larger version in a new tab
CT DEEP's Preliminary Waters for Action Plan Development Map

 

3. How did a particular watershed get included or excluded from this list?

The watersheds and embayments on the list had the highest rankings for either restoration or protection after combining scores from three categories of indicators for three areas of concern.

The complex ranking system DEEP used to identify the best watersheds for protection or for restoration was based on information about every watershed from a variety of sources to compare all 184 watersheds and embayments and assign scores in 3 categories:

In the ecological category higher scores mean that watershed has higher quality and more valuable resources, and is less degraded by pollution and development. Higher scores (smaller numerical rank 1-184) are good.

The stressor category includes indicators that would create negative impacts or stresses to a waterbody. These impacts decrease the water quality in a watershed and impact the value of natural resources in the affected area. Higher scores (larger numerical rank 1-184) are bad.

Social category has indicators that show existing levels of data collection and activities to clean up or protect a watershed, as well as indicators for citizen use of aquatic resources. Higher scores (smaller numerical rank 1-184) are good.

The scores for every watershed or embayment in each of these three categories are used to rank the watersheds and embayments 1 through 184 in each of six different areas of concern:

  1. General Watershed Health indicators for restoration

  2. Stormwater indicators for restoration

  3. Nutrient indicators for restoration

  4. General Watershed Health indicators for protection

  5. Stormwater indicators for protection

  6. Nutrient indicators for protection

The 15 river watersheds chosen for restoration plannning are those with the highest combined ranks in the restoration areas of concern. The eight river watersheds chosen for preservation are those with the highest combined ranks for the preservation areas of concern.

 

4. Where can I find the scores for my watershed?

Six tables showing the scores in the six areas of concern for all the watersheds and embayments are in a separate document on DEEP's webpage called Appendix E. The following chart has links to the first page of each table in a new tab. If the link does not bring you to that table at first, try refresh or close the tab and try again. Or just scroll down to the page indicated.

To find how a particular watershed or embayment ranked compared with the 183 others listed in each table, go to that table and scroll down or use the "Find" command (usually Ctrl-f) to search for the name of that watershed. Be careful, though, to make sure you are still in the table of interest, because each watershed is listed in the document six times.

Table 1. General Watershed Health Restoration Ranks (pages 1-8 of 48) Table 4. General Watershed Health Protection Rankings (pages 24-32 of 48)
Table 2. Stormwater Restoration Rankings (pages 9-16 of 48) Table 6. Stormwater Protection Rankings (pages 41 - 48 of 48)
Table 3. Nutrient Restoration Rankings (pages 17-23 of 48) Table 5. Nutrient Protection Rankings (pages 33 - 40 of 48)

Lots of information about all the watersheds can be found on what DEEP calls their Story Map, if you zoom in to the actual maps. The first actual map is section six (click the middle dot on the right side of the window). The title of this section is Fix What's Broken: Watersheds Selected for Restoration. Zooming in will show locations of Waste Water Treatment Plants, NPDES Permits, CT Federal Remediation Program, CT Remediation Feature Service - RCRA Corrective Action Program, CT Impaired Rivers 2014, Proposed CT Watershed Restoration and Impervious Cover. Be sure to click on the Legend to see what's what. The other actual maps in the other sections of the Story Map have other information; you must you must zoom in to those maps too.


 River Alliance of CT > Priority Topics > Water Quality

June 29, 20166

RA Comments on IWRM

Comments from Rivers Alliance of CT regarding the Integrated Water Resource Management project.

Thank you for presenting the Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) Vision for moving toward more effective implementation of the Clean Water Act (CWA) in Connecticut. Rivers Alliance has signed on to the important comments from the Long Island Sound Study Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC), of which we are a member. We also support comments we have seen from Housatonic Valley Association (HVA). And we share interest in questions we have seen from Park Watershed.

We support the emphasis on prioritization and the inclusion of protection with restoration as twin goals.

We see opportunities for coordinating the IWRM with the Integrated Water Quality Report due in 2016 as per the CWA. That report includes the 305(b) and 303(d) lists, that is, evaluative listing of all state waters and impaired waters, as well as action planning for Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) and other measures for water quality improvement. When will this 2016 report be appearing? I gather DEEP has been using data and other information from the 2014 report for the IWRM. So updating may be required when both documents are released. 

The welcome emphasis on protection in the IWRM appears to reintroduce in many cases a former 305(b) designation: Threatened Waters. Rivers Alliance has repeatedly asked that the Threatened Waters designation be brought back because it is so important to know where prompt protective action might reverse a decline into impairment. Happily, in the IWRM analysis of protection needs, you have the data to substantiate Threatened Waters designations. So we ask that Threatened Waters be reinstated in the 2016 report.

Along with a number of our colleagues, we are unhappy with the very, very lengthy process envisioned in the IWRM for ongoing planning as contrasted with few specifics and virtually no timeline for action. We understand that DEEP's resources are limited, but that is all the more reason to allocate them more evenly between planning and implementation. The public is getting mixed CWA messages. Under the 319 program we are told these days: "no money for planning, only for implementation." Under the Vision, we are told: "keep planning." 

CAC offers good recommendations for ways DEEP can use its various authorities to support the goals in the IWRM.  An example of the kind of situation in which the Vision could be applied is the power plant project in Oxford. Here, the proposal for a water cooling technology clearly was going to stress a watershed where there was ample, strong science showing flow impairment and ecological harm. Under the Vision, we hope DEEP will communicate with the Siting Council and others as appropriate about how to avoid deeper impairments. (One alternative might be air cooling or a hybrid system.)

We strongly recommend using thermal pollution as an indicator of impairment and healthy thermal numbers as indicators of potential high quality. Connecticut already has excellent, scientific thermal data. It is also one of the easiest measures for citizen scientists to master. Thermal metrics have broad applicability and are especially important to developing resilience in response to climate change. The data is relatively inexpensive to gather and outstandingly cost effective.

An impairment associated with thermal pollution is low stream flow and aquifer depletion. Thank you for IWRM's attention to free-flowing streams and altered streamflow. We ask that you increase attention to groundwater pumping and contamination as threats to the health of the state's water resources. 

Finally, we regret that we have thus far not been able to evaluate your priority rankings for upland watersheds in any systemic way. The rankings of the top 20 or so look pretty good, but we have not had much of a response from our network. We count on local experts for confirmation of our impressions. I believe one problem is that your website, to which we referred people, is difficult to use. People can't easily see what's new and what's important.

For our own part, we have questions about the underlying data for, say, recreational uses, impervious surface, local watershed groups. Will it be possible to get more information on this data and how it was gathered as need arises?  In this connection, the many thousands of pieces of information in the IWRM and the biannual reports raise the likelihood of inconsistencies, double counting, and so forth.

We foresee that, as the IWRM is used, numerous desirable data corrections and enhancements will emerge. It is our understanding that the document can be revised annually. We ask that you set up a simple, efficient way to make changes. 

Thank you for this work.

 


 River Alliance of CT > Priority Topics > Water Quality

June 9, 20166

DEEP Seeks Public Comment on CT's Integrated Water Resource Management Approach to Restoring Water Quality

A recent notice from CT DEEPs Bureau of Water Protection and Land Reuse is asking for people to analyze their new system and to provide comment. A core component of this process is to develop action plans for the bodies of water on the map below (click the map to go to their webpage). Here are excerpts from their announcement :

Connecticut is taking a new approach to restoring water quality in our rivers, streams, lakes, local harbors, and Long Island Sound. This enhanced approach, called Integrated Water Resource Management, will help focus state resources through a comprehensive review of information and by building on local partnerships to protect and restore water quality. Under the federal Clean Water Act, Connecticut creates pollution reduction plans called Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) to restore and protect water quality. A TMDL is a type of water quality action plan. Developing water quality action plans is not a new activity, however, the US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and the CT DEEP are taking a new approach to improve effectiveness while creating no new regulatory requirements.
Public comments will be collected from May 27, 2016, through June 30, 2016
Two public meetings will be held on June 20th.  The first session will be held at CT DEEP HQ, 79 Elm ST, Hartford, CT in the Gina McCarthy Auditorium from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. A second session will be held at Goodwin College, One Riverside Drive, East Hartford, CT 06118 in the Auditorium from 6:00 to 8:00 in the evening.
These events will feature a presentation on the Integrated Water Resource Management process and identification of potential waters for development of water quality action plans (emphasis and map above added).  Interested people are invited to attend and participate in the session. Written comments may be submitted through email or regular mail by June 30, 2016.
Questions and email comments should be submitted to: christopher.sullivan@ct.gov, written comments may also be submitted to CTDEEP, 79 Elm Street, Hartford CT  06106  Attn:  Mr. Christopher Sullivan, Planning and Standards Division.
Learn More
Please visit the CT DEEP Integrated Water Resource Management website (www.ct.gov/deep/iwrm) for more information including:
A Story Map that provides an interactive format for interested people to further understand the how the waters were selected for action plan development. There are also mapping tools available at this location for further investigating the information available in each of the current preliminary list of waterbodies.
A fact sheet that gives an overview of the new approach to developing action plans.
Information on Integrated Water Resource Management in Connecticut.
Further details on the process for selecting waters for action plan development: Technical Support Document:  Identifying Watershed for Restoration and Protection Plans with Connecticut Integrated Water Resource Management Efforts.


Rivers Alliance Comments on Bill 941 on Delaying Implementation of Monitoring and Assessment of Pollution of Soil and Water, Including Drinking Waterr

(Track this bill)

TO: Sen. Ted Kennedy and Rep. James Albis, Chairmen,
And the Members of the Committee on the Environment

Testimony from Rivers Alliance of Connecticut
Public Hearing, February 27, 20155

Why?? The two-year delay stipulated in this bill would come after a pollutant is detected. How can one justify continuing to expose families and wildlife to a pollutant that is known to be in their environment and possibly their drinking water. “Ignorance is bliss” is not an acceptable defense for failure to notify persons of impending risk.



Rivers Alliance Comments on Bill 363 on Private Water Rights, with Particular Attention to Groundwater Rights

(Track this bill)

TO: Sen. Ted Kennedy and Rep. James Albis, Chairmen,
And the Members of the Committee on the Environment

Testimony from Rivers Alliance of Connecticut
Public Hearing, February 27, 20155

 

This is a problematic and complex area of water law. Connecticut has focused primarily on surface-water law, especially in the development of streamflow regulations, adopted in 2011. However, groundwater is as important to water supply and water health as surface water (both are part of a continuous system). Unfortunately, at the insistence of water companies and some legislators, DEEP was required to eliminate groundwater protections from the surface water regulations. But, at the time, a number of key legislators involved in the process pledged to take up the issue of groundwater as soon as possible. ASAP is evidently now.

Groundwater protection involves quantity and quality. Connecticut may have ample quantity, but this will not answer our needs if groundwater contamination continues at the pace of recent years. Both aspects (quantity and quality) arise in neighbor to neighbor disputes, as well as state to private owner disputes, and town to town disputes. Groundwater can be subject to draw-down and contamination from neighboring properties. The Water Planning Council just a few days ago noted that the state water plan that’s in development should be fair to private well-owners as well as public suppliers.

The answers to questions on groundwater rights in current law are unsatisfactory to many interests. (I am not a lawyer, but Rivers Alliance did sponsor a conference on water law in 2005, and we serve as co-chair of the Water Planning Council Advisory Group.) We do not recommend a stand-alone assignment to DEEP on water law; the agency has a full agenda for the next couple of years. It would be more logical to be sure that private groundwater is given appropriate attention in the state water plan. The Committee might begin with a request to OLR or to the Water Planning Council; also, perhaps one or more of the state’s law schools could address the issue for you. Once you have a picture of the outlines of the areas of conflict and the relevant law, you will be able to make focused requests for better water management.


River Alliance of CT > Priority Topics > Water Quality >

Is Connecticut Water Vulnerable To Pollution By Oil Pipeline Spills?

Updated July 13, 2015


We have pipelines in Connecticut (or upstream from CT) carrying liquid petroleum products like gasoline, heating oil, jet fuel etc. This
map of CT pipelines from the US Energy Information Administration shows their approximate locations.

In January 100 barrels of diesel fuel spilled from a pipeline into a Salt Lake City park. A crude oil pipeline in Montana contaminated drinking water supplies lin March. In 2010, 843,000 gallons of oil flowed into the Kalamazoo River, a Lake Michigan tributary. Heavy rains caused the river to overtop existing dams and carried oil 35 miles downstream.

Could oil spills like these  happen in our state?

We DO have pipelines in Connecticut (or upstream from CT) carrying liquid petroleum products like gasoline, heating oil, jet fuel, etc. The map to the right shows the approximate locations of refined oil product pipelines in Connecticut from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Here in Connecticut, 125 miles of Buckeye pipelines carry around 10,154,000 barrels per year of heating oil, jet fuel, or diesel fuel from New Haven toward Middletown, Hartford, Bradley International Airport, and Springfield through the watersheds of the Quinnipiac and Connecticut Rivers. See the chart below for details. This pipeline system was built in 1961. Also, the 84-mile Exxon-Mobil East Providence to Springfield pipeline carries gasoline through the northernmost areas of tributaries of the Thames River. There is also a 10 mile fuel oil line from Hew Haven Harbor to Hamden.

Note there are also many miles of natural gas pipelines not considered here.

Companies that transport liquid oil products by truck, train, or ship are required to train their employees and have equipment ready to respond to accidents that can happen anywhere. These accidents are usually highly visible and responded to quickly. (But, as we saw February 16, when a train carrying crude oil derailed in West Virginia, current safety practices were inadequate.)

Transport by pipelines is in some ways more problematic. Pipelines are usually buried and out of sight, so unless a leak is large enough to trigger pressure alarms, a small leak could potentially go unnoticed and contaminate a lot of groundwater before any sign appears on the surface or is detected by surface or groundwater sampling.

Pipelines are often touted by the industry as the safest way to transport fluids, and statistics are available to show that less oil is lost from pipelines as a percentage of the volume transported than from truck, train, or ship.

However, that safety claim is relative. The U.S. DOT's Pipeline Safety and Hazardous Materials Administration reports that nationwide there were 745,013 gallons of heating oil, jet fuel, or diesel fuel spilled from pipelines in the last five years from 292 reported incidents.  Buckeye reported 39 incidents, none in CT in the last five years.

There were leaks in New Haven in 1994, 1996 and 2000 during which 1220 barrels (51,239 gallons) of fuel leaked. 955 barrels were reported recovered, so 265 barrels of fuel oil polluted Little River (a trubutary of the Quinnipiac River) or somewhere nearby. A 2011 leak of about 8400 gallons of fuel oil into the Mill River in Hamden-New Haven came from a pinhole leak in a 56 year-old pipeline.

The national data indicate that improved leak and spill prevention is essential to protection of water resources. Rivers Alliance believes that more rigorous leak detection is needed now in Connecticut and New England.

Is Connecticut Water Vulnerable To Pollution By Oil Pipeline Spills?
125 miles of pipelines carry around 10,154,000 barrels per year of heating oil, jet fuel, or diesel fuel through the watersheds of the Quinnipiac and Connecticut Rivers.

In these towns, ... the pipeline crosses or comes close to parts of these water features:
Water Features Along the Northern CT Section of Pipeline Route (blue or purple shading)
Enfield Buckhorn Brook, Pierce Brook, Scantic River, Terry Brook,  Freshwater Brook,  2 unnamed streams, 3 drainage ditches, Crescent Lake, 2 unnamed ponds, 3 wetlands.
Windsor Locks Strawberry Meadow (aka Hathaway Hollow) Brook , Seymour Hollow Brook, Rainbow Brook, 2 unnamed streams, 1 wetland.
East Windsor Ketch Brook, Spring Glen Brook, Chestnut Brook, Broad Brook,  Broad Brook Village Brook, Rustic Brook, Hunt Aquifer Protection Area, Grants Pond, 3 unnamed ponds, 3 wetlands.
Windsor Connecticut River, 3 unnamed streams.
South Windsor Podunk River, Stoughton Brook,  Newberry Brook, Bancroft Brook, Dry Brook, Scantic River, Connecticut River, 3 unnamed streams, Claypit Pond,  Brickyard Pond, Jose Pond, Sheppard Pond, 2 wetlands.
Hartford Connecticut River, a sewage disposal pond.
East Hartford Connecticut River, Pewterpot Brook, Willow Brook, Hockanum River, Goodwin Brook, Burnham Brook, Keeney Cove, an unnamed pond, 1 wetland, The Hunt Aquifer Protection Area.
Wethersfield Beaver Brook, Folly Brook, Wethersfield Cove, Connecticut River, 2 unnamed ponds, 1 wetland.
Glastonbury Connecticut River.
In these towns, ... the pipeline crosses or comes close to parts of these water features:
Rocky Hill Connecticut River, Dividend Brook, Hog Brook, Goff Brook, 2 wetlands, The Gardiner Expansion Aquifer Protection Area. Water Features Along the Southern CT Section of Pipeline Route (blue or purple shading)
Cromwell> Connecticut River, 4 unnamed streams, Cromwell Reservoir, 3 wetlands, The Gardiner Expansion Aquifer Protection Area.
Portland Connecticut River, Brazos Pond, Quarry Pond.
Middletown Coginchaug River, Sumner Brook, Reservoir Brook, Connecticut River, 5 unnamed streams, an unnamed pond, 3 wetlands, the John S. Roth aquifer Protection Area.
Middlefield Lyman Meadow Brook, Ellen Doyle Brook, Coginchaug River, 3 unnamed streams, 2 unnamed ponds, 1 wetland.
Durham Asmun Brook and an  unnamed stream.
Wallingford Muddy River, Spring Brook, Allen Brook, 5 unnamed streams, Pine Lake, 7 unnamed ponds, 4 wetlands.
North Haven Quinnipiac River, Muddy River, Watermans Brook, 4 unnamed streams, Orchard Pond, Muddy Pond, an unnamed pond, 2 wetlands.
Hamden Quinnipiac River.
East Haven A drainage ditch, Pollywog Pond, 2 wetlands.
New Haven Tuttle Brook, Hemingway Creek, Little River, Quinnipiac River, 5 wetlands.
     
Overall: 20 towns 81 watercourses, 34 water bodies, 33 wetlands, 3 Aquifer Protection Areas.
Not listed here are the water features potentially affected by a gasoline pipeline that crosses the upper Thames watershed in Massasschusetts, and by the many natural gas pipelines that criss-cross Connecticut.


RA Comments on RB 6033 AAC on the Inclusion of Juices, Teas and Sports Drinks Under Connecticut's Bottle Bill ottle Bill

(Support)

TO: Sen. Ted Kennedy and Rep. James Albis, Chairmen, And the Members of the Committee on the Environment
Testimony from Rivers Alliance of Connecticut
Public Hearing, February 4, 2015

RB 6033 is the logical and anticipated extension of the state’s bottle bill. Rivers Alliance urges passage of this act in order to further protect wetlands, rivers, and the shore of the Sound from bottle debris. Glass bottles are less toxic than plastic but more apt to give a nasty cut to anyone walking on the beach, launching a kayak, or fishing in a river. Unwashed bottles attract yellow jackets and worse. Plastic bottles, like so many plastic products, are dangerous to aquatic life and human health (see below).


RA Comments on RB 349 AAC on Single-Use Carryout Plastic and Paper Bags and the Use of Reusable Bags

(Support)

TO: Sen. Ted Kennedy and Rep. James Albis, Chairmen, And the Members of the Committee on the Environment
Testimony from Rivers Alliance of Connecticut
Public Hearing, February 4, 2015

RB 349 is an important step toward reducing the exploitation of resources needed to provide carryout bags made of paper or plastic. To focus just on water, paper and plastic products typically use large quantities, for example, it takes more water to manufacture a water bottle than the bottle can hold. Paper mills have been notorious river polluters. Their operations have dramatically improved in many locations in recent years, but they still need a lot water throughout the process. Using less paper will save water.

It makes no sense to use plant and water resources to create immediately disposable products, the carryout bags. These bags bulk up the waste stream and, worse, add to the debris in our waters, on land, in trees, just about everywhere. I have done a fair amount of supermarket shopping where there is a fee for bags, and people quickly become bag savers under these conditions. It is not a hardship. The European Union has just passed a law to restrict use of plastic grocery bags to reduce litter and the “plastic soup” in oceans (as reported by Reuters, 11/21/14).

A word on plastic. It is a ubiquitous and potent contaminant in oceans, estuaries, and fresh water. All sorts of plastic products eventually disintegrate in water into tiny bits that enter the food chain. To make matters worse, these plastic bits can soak up contaminants. Researchers at the University of Western Australia reported in 2013 that every square kilometer of Australian surface sea water is contaminated by 4,000 pieces of plastic. The great Pacific Garbage Patch, a plastic gyre, is twice the size of Texas with millions of tons of plastics. Similar gyres exist in all oceans. Sea life is being choked, strangled, and poisoned. The shores of Long Island Sound provide sad evidence of the ugly prevalence of plastic debris. The trash is discarded in the sea and in rivers that run to the sea. It is harmful every mile of the way.

Connecticut has taken some important small steps to control the most infamous component of numerous plastics, bisphenol A (BPA), a substance that mimics estrogen and can disrupt development of reproductive systems. Scientists are currently trying to assess the global health effects of BPA, particularly synergistic effects arising from widespread interaction with similar estrogen-like compounds in pesticides and cosmetic products. Sexual anomalies in fish, amphibians, and humans have been linked to variety of estrogen-mimicking substances. The dangers of BPA were addressed in an alarming article in Scientific American (2/16/2008). Studies before and especially since have painted an even scarier picture. And nothing makes the point better than the disturbing photos on YouTube. Just google.

Thanks for pushing us all to use less plastic. It is good for the earth and not hard to do. Rivers Alliance would be happy to help in any way that would assist in passage of these bills.


Sharing Knowledge on Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring: Conference Recap and Presentationsnss

Friday, July 25, 2014, the CT Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring Conference at Goodwin College brought together environmentalists, scientists, students, advocates, officials, groups, and individuals from across Connecticut and around the country.

Presenters like Jon Morrison, U.S. Geological Survey CT acting office chief, shared valuable insights about our rivers, garnered from water quality monitoring. Monitoring is an essential first step to any educated river policy, and we depend on the information USGS and countless groups and volunteers gather in the field.

The conference organizers, Jacqueline Talbot, Connecticut River Watershed Council Lower River Steward, and Meghan Ruta, CT DEEP Volunteer Monitoring Coordinator, along with Goodwin College’s Environmental Studies Program Director Bruce Morton, hope to make this conference annual as monitoring in CT continues to gain support.

You can experience the conference right now on your computer! Below are most of the presentations from the conference in pdf form. If you have any questions, email us at rivers@riversalliance.org and we will get you in touch with the presenter.

CT DEEP’s Water Quality Monitoring & Assessment Program – Chris Bellucci, CT DEEP Monitoring & Assessment Program Supervisor 

Water Quality Monitoring in the Latimer Brook Watershed: What You Can Do With Your Data – Donald Danila, Niantic River Watershed Committee

Interim Report on the Latimer Brook Watershed: Nitrate Concentration and Stream Mixing – Dr. John Jasper, Niantic River Watershed Committee

CT DEEP’s Three Tiered Approach: Supporting Volunteer Monitoring of Wadeable Streams & Rivers – Meghan Ruta, CT DEEP Monitoring and Assessment Program

Calculating Water Quality Indicator Scores for Ecosystem Health Report Cards – Alexandra S. Fries, UMD CES Integration and Application Network

A Regional Data/Modeling System for Identifying Climate Change Resilient Streams – Ben Letcher, USGS Silvio O. Conte Anadromous Fish Research Center

Bacteria Monitoring: From Poop to Nuts – Jane Brawerman, CT River Coastal Conservation District, Alisa Phillips-Griggs, Farmington River Watershed Association, and Judy Rondeau, Eastern CT Conservation District

Watershed Data Management – Joseph C. Hovious, Pootatuck Watershed Association, and Timothy N. Wasielewski, Advanced Environmental Interface

Mapping Sediment Trace Metal Contamination with Trinity Undergraduates in the Park River Watershed (Greater Hartford, CT) – Jonathan Gourley Ph.D., Trinity College Environmental Science Program

Case Study: New Haven Harbor Water Quality Monitoring Program – Hollie J. Brandstatter, Southern Connecticut State University

Monitoring the Health of the Shepaug River (Washington/Roxbury, CT) – Gary L. Steinman, Roxbury Conservation Commission/Shepaug River Association


 

The Integrated Water Quality Report

(2014)

The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) has released its most important document on the status of CT rivers and other waters under the standards and rules of the Clean Water Act.  This is the Integrated Water Quality Report, delivered to the US Congress every two years. The comment period runs to August 29, 2014.    

Questions and comments on the report should be directed to Walter Tokarz, at walter.tokarz@ct.gov or in writing to CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, Water Protection and Land Reuse, Bureau of Water Protection and Land Reuse, Planning and Standards Division, 79 Elm Street, Hartford, CT, 06106-5127.

For more background, go to the DEEP page about the report, for brief version of the report, read a summary of the report, the report can be read in its entirety on the DEEP site.

Some of you may recall the report as having two separate parts: the 303(d) list of impaired waters and the 305(b) list of all waters. These parts were integrated several years ago. (Unfortunately, an intermediate category, “Threatened,” was eliminated.) 


WHY IT IS IMPORTANT TO REVIEW THIS REPORT AND COMMENT AS NECESSARY
 
This report will tell you whether a river, stream, lake, cove, or estuary has been assessed under the Clean Water Act, whether it has been found to be impaired or not, and whether remediation efforts are being considered, under way, or completed.  For any kind of planning, action, advocacy, or application for funding, this is vitally important information. The report is lengthy and complex. The most efficient way to gather information about a water body of interest to you is to enter the name of the water body in the “Find” box, and keep hitting “Next” until the end. You may be surprised by what you find, or disagree, or be pleased, or want to urge DEEP to make a correction or to do more. That is why there is a comment period. DEEP puts major resources into this effort, and we should respond.
 
If you have questions about the report or the most effective way to comment, we at Rivers Alliance will try to help. You may call (860-361-9349) or email (rivers@riversalliance.org).


Protecting CT's Waters for Native Fish

What are we doing? What needs to be done? How can you help? Rivers Alliance Executive Director Margaret Miner answers these questions and more on Yankee Fisherman podcast. You can listen to the interview online at http://www.hanradio.com/5303-news/yankee-fisherman/725-yankee-fisherman/.


Research May Help Manage LIS Nutrient Loading 

Microbes take biologically usable nitrate (NO3 -) and process it in one of two critically important pathways -- denitrification, which returns it to biologically inert nitrogen gas (N2,), or ammonification, which turns nitrate into ammonium (NH4+) and keeps the nitrogen biologically useable. This means that we can slow over-enrichment of Long Island Sound by nitrogen by encouraging denitrification and discouraging ammonification.

A study reported in the Aug 8, 2014 issue of Science reports that three specific initial factors were conclusively responsible for determining the denitrification or ammonification of the nitrate supply.

The ratio of nitrate (NO3-) or nitrite (NO2-), is the most basic because when nitrite is more abundant, the process that dominates is inevitably denitrification. 

However, regardless of the ratio of the fixed nitrogen supply, when conditions encouraged rapid regeneration (generation time of less than 1.7 days), then the denitrifying bacterial groups came to dominate (either rapidly or eventually), but slow growth conditions favored ammonifying bacteria.

Finally, the carbon to nitrogen ratio is an important factor because carbon limitation (limited food supply) will favor denitrification -- denitrifying organisms will have higher productivity.

An article describing this research is at http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140807145742.htm, the scientific paper is available at http://www.sciencemag.org/content/345/6197/676   

 



 

 

Rivers Alliance of Connecticut
PO Box 1797, 7 West Street 3rd Floor, Litchfield, CT 06759-1797
860-361-9349
rivers@riversalliance.org, www.riversalliance.org