Dec 8, 2017
Legionnaires' Disease Statistically Associated With ZIP Codes Along Two CT Rivers
Researchers at the Yale School of Public Health have found a link (see below) between two river watersheds in Connecticut (the Naugatuck and the Quinebaug) and cases of Legionnaires’ Disease.
The somewhat mysterious finding does not conclude that direct contact with the water increases risk, although the researchers are suggesting following up by testing the water for the bacteria, and using actual locations of disease victims instead of ZIP codes. Their best guess at this time is that the bacteria are communicated in some form of aerosolized water, perhaps associated with power-plant cooling or sewage treatment or even car tires. The study was published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases.
The link was established by mapping the rate of recorded cases of Legionnaires' Disease per 100,000 people in each Connecticut ZIP code, then applying mathematical analyses to the data to account for population age and density, age of housing, and frequency of testing. Each ZIP code was assigned to a river basin based on which watershed occupied the largest area of that ZIP code; then the distance of the center of the ZIP code to the river main stem was used to calculate whether there was a statistically significant association with that river.
May 10, 2017
New Report Shows Some Private Wells in Connecticut Test High for Naturally Occurring Arsenic, Uranium
On May 3, Connecticut's Department of Public Health (DPH), in cooperation with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), announced the publication of a report that reveals that water from some private wells across the state has registered high levels of arsenic and uranium. Click here for DPH's announcement. For the full USGS report entitled "Arsenic and Uranium in Private Wells in Connecticut, 2013-15," click here.
The results of this study reaffirm DPH's previous recommendation that private well owners in Connecticut should test their wells for naturally occurring arsenic and uranium. "Our study shows that any private well in Connecticut has the potential to have elevated arsenic or uranium," said Ryan Tetreault, DPH Private Well Program supervisor. "Private well owners should have their well tested at least once for these contaminants."
Help in interpreting the maps
Approximate locations where well water was sampled in the study are shown on all the maps with Xs and circles. The Xs indicate sample locations with concentrations too low to be measured. The size of the circles on the maps indicate increasing levels of measured concentration. The largest circles are locations where the measurement exceeded maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) enforceable for drinking-water supplies. See the presentation MCLs and Action Levels for Private Well Drinking Water by Gary Ginsberg, Ph.D., (Connecticut Private Well Conference March 23, 2017) for more information on MCLs.
The background colors on the maps indicate the distribution across the state of major bedrock categories. The colors indicate how many samples (as a percentage) from that rock formation exceeded maximum contaminant levels. Data indicated higher levels were associated with 81 different individual types of bedrock in Connecticut; however, bedrock type alone was not always predictive of higher or lower concentrations.
"For example, some major bedrock categories that had generally low levels of contamination also had a few isolated wells with high concentrations of arsenic or uranium," said Sarah Flanagan, USGS Hydrologist and lead author of the study.
For more information contact your local health department/district or the Department of Public Health - Private Well Program at 860-509-7296. CTDPH also offers much more information in their document Arsenic in Drinking Water - The Standard for Arsenic in Public Drinking Water Systems.
Feel free also to call Tony Mitchell at 860-361-9349 or email firstname.lastname@example.org at Rivers Alliance of Connecticut.
February 15, 2017
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 (U.S. 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 EPA following the DEEP'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 U.S. EPA. Comments should be directed to Erik Bedan electronically at email@example.com 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 p.m. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or 860-424-3386.
Aug 25, 2016
Chemical Spill at Light Metals Coloring Company; Southington Shuts Town Wells
Here is a statement issued by the 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.
Links to some information about the company:
July 1, 2016
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 at email@example.com or 860-424-3514. As always, Rivers Alliance is also happy to help.
June 29, 2016
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.
June 9, 2016
DEEP Seeks Public Comment on CT's Integrated Water Resource Management Approach to Restoring Water Quality
A recent notice from CT DEEP's 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 U.S. 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 to 8 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 firstname.lastname@example.org; written comments may also be submitted to CT DEEP, 79 Elm St., Hartford CT 06106 Attn: Mr. Christopher Sullivan, Planning and Standards Division.
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 water bodies.
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.