All News Releases By Date
Connecticut’s Coastal Beach Monitoring Program Gets $223,370 EPA Boost -- Additional Sections of CT Coastline Designated “No Discharge”
Release Date: 07/12/2006
Contact Information: Sheryl Rosner, (617) 918-1865
(Essex, Conn. - July 12, 2006) - At a ceremony today with Governor M. Jodi Rell, and other state, local and federal officials, the US Environmental Protection Agency announced a $223,370 grant to the Connecticut Department of Public Health to help make the state’s coastal beaches cleaner and healthier for swimming. At the same event, which was held at the Connecticut Maritime Museum in Essex, Governor Rell also announced that the Long Island Sound waters from Eastern Point in Groton to Hoadley Point in Guilford are designated as Connecticut’s newest “No Discharge Area.”
“This is a great day for ensuring cleaner and healthier coastal waters in Connecticut,” stated Robert W. Varney, administrator of EPA's New England Office. "Not only will a new enlarged No Discharge Area protect Connecticut’s coastline from untreated waste from marine activities, but the State is also getting a monetary boost to help continue its strong beach monitoring program.”
Funding for beach monitoring was made available through the federal Beach Act of 2000, which is making $1.14 million available this summer to the region's five coastal states. The money will be used by DPH to continue its oversight and work with; EPA, DEP, local parks and recreation departments, the state laboratory, and local health departments, in a coordinated effort to regularly monitor 67 of Connecticut’s coastal beaches.
Last year more that 1,000 water samples were collected from beach waters and outfall pipes close to swimming areas by DPH, and Connecticut’s 21 local health departments. The results of these samples not only provide important information about day-to-day water quality at Connecticut’s beaches, it also sheds light on major sources and the character of coastal pollution.
Since 2001, EPA has provided over $6 million to New England states and almost $1.2 million to Connecticut alone for beach monitoring, assessment and notification activities. The money will be used to help the state develop and maintain its program to test water quality and other environmental conditions at beaches, and provide public notice if unhealthy levels of bacteria and/or other contamination are present.
“Connecticut's beaches are a wonderful recreation destination for many of our residents and for our out-of-state visitors as well,” stated Governor Rell. “Ensuring the waters are safe for swimming is and should be a top priority and we take it very seriously. The funds we are receiving today allow DEP and DPH to test the waters at our state beaches on a regular basis throughout the summer swim season. We appreciate EPA's support for our efforts to closely monitor water quality at the beaches located at Connecticut's state parks."
In 2005, about one-quarter of the region's almost 800 monitored coastal beaches were closed at least one day last summer, amounting to about 1300 beach closure days across New England. While there is still work to be done, those numbers show improvement from 2001, when the region's coastal beaches had nearly 1,400 beach closure days.
In the past several years, Connecticut’s coastal beaches have also improved. The number of beach closures has decreased from 115 in 2003, to 86 in 2005. However, there are still problems to fix; sources of bacteria still remain along the coast – ranging from polluted runoff to release of untreated sewage from pet waste, wildlife, illicit connections, leaking sewer pipes, failing septic systems, combined sewer overflows and boats.
As announced by Governor Rell today, Connecticut is taking aggressive steps to address bacterial contamination from marine sources by designating additional swaths of its coastline as No Discharge Areas – the third such designation in the state. With the latest designation the Connecticut coastline from the Rhode Island border to the Guilford/Branford town lines will prohibit all sewage discharge from boats.
More information on EPA’s Clean New England Beaches Initiative (epa.gov/ne/eco/beaches/)
More information on No Discharge designations in New England (epa.gov/region1/eco/nodiscrg/index.html)
More information about swimming conditions at Connecticut beaches from CT DEP (www.dep.state.ct.us/updates/beach/wtrqual.asp)
State of Connecticut press release on No Discharge designation (www.dep.state.ct.us/whatshap/press/2006/071206a.htm)
# # #