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Save the Sound to explore the effects of stormwater pollution in Connecticut

Long Island, N.Y.: Commercial fisherman sorts fluke from his catch of fish on the Long Island Sound in Long Island, New York, on August 30, 2017.
Mark Harrington
Newsday LLC/Newsday via Getty Images
A commercial fisherman sorts fluke from his catch of fish on Long Island Sound in Long Island, New York, on Aug. 30, 2017.

Local environmental experts are concerned about the worsening effects of stormwater runoff on recreation and fishing. They’re sharing their knowledge with the public this week.

As major storms continue to become more common and intense due to climate change, so does stormwater pollution in Long Island Sound and Connecticut’s local bodies of water.

Long Island Soundkeeper Bill Lucey said a heavily developed state such as Connecticut will have many artificial, water-resistant surfaces like pavement, roofs or asphalt. He said this has a negative impact during storms.

“When it rains, we get these mini flash floods everywhere, whatever is lying on the pavement gets swept into storm drains or directly into streams and lakes,” he said.

Those pollutants can range from pet waste to trash and toxins.

Almost every Connecticut municipality has bodies of water that aren’t safe for fishing or swimming due to stormwater runoff issues, said Roger Reynolds, senior legal counsel at Save the Sound. He said solutions include natural measures.

“Because you’re planting trees, you’re creating green space,” he said. “And it will also reduce flooding, because you’re taking the rainwater and putting it back into the ground.”

Reynolds added that these measures are part of the municipal stormwater general permit, which is issued under the Clean Water Act.

Save the Sound recommends some small steps to reduce stormwater pollution, such as cleaning up pet waste, reducing or eliminating lawn chemicals and fertilizers, and using a car wash to cut down on auto fluids entering storm drains.

Learn more

Save the Sound’s online webinar is Thursday, June 23, at 12:30 p.m. Registration is required.

Michayla Savitt is a reporter at CT Public, with an interest in covering climate change and the environment. She was a newsroom intern for the station in summer 2022, but began her time there as a production intern for WNPR's local talk shows. Michayla is an alumna of the health & science reporting program at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. Before that, she was a reporter/anchor for various radio outlets in New York state.