Report says Connecticut needs to improve water quality monitoring

The Connecticut River (Image: Shutterstock)

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — For six months the Isaac Walton League of America studied the ways states across the country monitor water quality in rivers and streams. The results, most states received a D or an F as a grade. Connecticut got a C+.

“I don’t think anybody got an A and so we were kinda on the high end of the scale. But, like I said, I think we’re doing pretty good and have a good pulse on water quality here in Connecticut,” said DEEP environmental analyst Chris Bellucci.

The report says Connecticut only monitors about ten percent of streams and rivers for pollution, siting just 30 permanent water quality monitoring stations across the state. They say we need more than 300. Bellucci says that’s just a samll part of how we test our water.

“I think in Connecticut we have a very robust monitoring program. We sample anywhere from 100 to 500 streams a year. We have 48 stations out in Long Island Sound,” said Bellucci.

The concern with ground water is run-off. Contaminants from yards and materials make their way into the water and eventually down to the Sound. Along the way the pollution can impact fish and wildlife.

“Nitrogen is particularly an issue for Long Island Sound and phosphorous is more of an issue for fresh water lakes and streams,” said Bellucci.

When asked if people should be concerned about polluted water as we head into swimming season, Bellucci says the answer is a simple one.

“Make sure you go to a designated swimming area because designated areas are areas where we test with frequency. We’re out there every week,” said Bellucci.

According to the report just 64 percent of our rivers and streams are clean in the state. DEEP says that number is probably closer to 74 percent and perhaps the grading system was a little too harsh.

“I wouldn’t wanna say A because I think we can all do more, do better. I would give us a B+,” said Bellucci.

Bellucci said DEEP has trained more than 300 people to voluntarily sample water around the state as well. For information on how you can become part of the program, click here

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