Nationally, Connecticut slipped from 12th place to 13th for percentage of water quality tests that exceeded national standards, according to the National Resources Defense Council’s 20th annual water quality report, The Hartford Courant reported.
Factoring out a wildlife anomaly in 2008, Connecticut beaches have been closed or carried posted advisories for 108 days for the past three years in a row, demonstrating that the state has been unable to make significant progress in reducing the health threat facing the swimmers and boaters who want to enjoy the state’s waterways, according to a news release from Save the Sound.
The great majority, 81 percent, of beach closures and posted advisories reported in 2009 were due to stormwater contamination, a condition that can be mitigated through investment in sewer infrastructure upgrades and stormwater management techniques like green infrastructure and landscaping. Other unknown sources of contamination account for the remaining 19 percent of beach closures and advisory days.
“For the past two years Connecticut has stood still in the top 25 percent of states as far as water quality is concerned. That’s not good enough,” said state Senator Ed Meyer (D-Guilford), who is Senate Chairman of the legislature’s Environment Committee. “We owe it to the citizens of this state and to future generations to work harder, to seek more state and federal funding for clean water projects, and to reduce the annual number of beach closings to zero. Only then will we have accomplished our mission. This is a true quality of life priority.”
“Like the Gulf, Long Island Sound is central to our way of life in Connecticut,” said Sandy Breslin, Director of Governmental Affairs for Audubon Connecticut, the state organization of the National Audubon Society. “Unlike the Gulf, we know how to stop the Sound’s pollution. Sustained state and federal investments in clean water are the key to making sure Long Island Sound remains a summer refuge for people and wildlife.”
Polluted stormwater 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 animals and flora. Long Island Sound is an eight-billion-dollar regional economy in which the marine trades play a major role—for businesses that depend upon a thriving and healthy 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 65 beaches monitored by the state and municipalities. Connecticut slipped from its 12th place ranking last year to 13th in the nation for the percentage of tests that exceeded national standards, with five percent of those tests failing to meet standards set for bacteria.
The full NRDC report can be found at www.nrdc.org.
Read the Courant report here: State Slips To 13th Place In Water Quality According To Annual Report – Courant.com.
The New Haven Register reports: “Connecticut saw a decrease in beach closings and advisories in 2009, but is 13th in the nation in beachwater quality and still has much work to do to ensure that Long Island Sound and the waters draining into it are clean and healthy, environmental advocates and public officials said today as they released the Connecticut results of an annual national environmental snapshot.”