State Beach Closings / Advisory Days on the Rise | ctenvironment.org

Jul 29th, 2009 | By | Category: Pollution, Stormwater Runoff, Water

State Beach Closings / Advisory Days on the Rise | ctenvironment.org: “Branford – Environmental groups gathered today at beautiful Branford Point Beach with Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, Senator Ed Meyer, Representatives Dick Roy, Pat Widlitz, Lonnie Reed, and other state and local officials to release the Natural Resources Defense Council’s (NRDC) 2009 Testing the Waters report. The annual report examines national water quality and beach closings data for 2008, breaking down the information state-by-state and beach-by-beach. Save the Sound and Environment Connecticut are releasing this year’s figures for Connecticut, which saw a 25 percent increase in beach closings and advisories in 2008 to 135, up from 108 closings and advisories in 2007.

Connecticut experienced 135 beach closings in 2008, up 25 percent from the 108 closings in 2007, but still well below the two earlier years that dialed in at 224 closings in 2006 and 200 in 2005. The reduction in 2008 closings is attributable to light rainfall, as stormwater runoff is the primary cause of bacterial contamination. Polluted runoff is also a contributing factor in the Sound’s “dead zone” a growing area in the western portion of the Sound where oxygen deprivation is stressing marine life and flora. For businesses that depend upon a thriving waterway, hypoxia is a key concern as it signals an inability of the marine environment to sustain life.

NRDC analyzed Connecticut Department of Health data for the 66 beaches monitored by the state and municipalities. This year, Connecticut ranked 12th in the nation for the percentage of tests that exceeded national standards, with four percent of those tests failing to meet standards set for bacteria. The good news is that Connecticut moved up from 18th in the 2008 report, the bad news is that beaches up and down the coast are still regularly closed to summertime visitors and residents.

In 2008, 28 percent (38) of the beach closings were due to test results showing excessive levels of contaminants, while 72 percent (97) were preemptive closings due to heavy rain or wildlife.

The full NRDC report can be found at www.nrdc.org/beaches

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