June 28, 2012
DEEP: All State Shoreline Swimming Areas Open for Holiday Weekend
Chatfield Hollow Swimming Area in Killingworth Remains Closed – All other State Inland Swimming Areas Open for Weekend
The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) today announced that all shoreline and inland beaches with the exception of Chatfield Hollow, Killingworth are open for the upcoming holiday weekend. Chatfield Hollow is being retested today with results available tomorrow.
“It is certainly good news that our shoreline beaches and almost all of our inland beaches will be open for the 4th of July weekend,” said DEEP Commissioner Daniel C. Esty. “Connecticut has worked tirelessly for years to improve the water quality at all of our state beaches and the efforts have resulted in a significant decrease in the days that we have to close our swimming areas. Even with the effects of Tropical Storm Irene last year, we still had a beach closure rate only slightly above our average.
“The state has invested billions of dollars over the past 40 years to support the construction of municipal sewage treatment plants in order to improve water quality,” Esty said.
“We are also focused on improving the management of storm water runoff, to reduce instances when water from storms travels over the terrain and picks up bacteria that contaminate swim areas,” Esty said. “We are working closely with developers and municipalities to find alternative ways of developing land and managing stormwater that is aimed at minimizing the impacts of urbanization on natural resources and water quality.”
DEEP Water Quality Monitoring
DEEP maintains a robust beach monitoring program, conducting weekly sampling at 23 state-owned and managed swimming areas from Memorial Day through Labor Day.
Samples from the swimming areas are analyzed at a Department of Public Health lab. Samples are analyzed for indicator bacteria to evaluate the potential contamination of waterbodies. If indicator bacteria at a swimming area exceed the public health criteria, the swimming area is closed. It is then resampled and reopened only when the indicator bacteria falls below the appropriate level.
DEEP Comment on Recent Natural Resources Defense Council Report, “Testing the Waters”
“Recent reports citing dramatic increases in beach closures last year need to be considered in the context of the significant coastal storm – Tropical Storm Irene – that occurred during the reporting period,” added Commissioner Esty. “Because of the storm, many of our beach closures were preemptive in nature. In addition, numerous beaches remained closed for a number of days following the storm for issues other than water quality, such as debris near and in the water.”
Note: The swimming area at Green Falls Pond in Pachaug State Forest remains closed because of low water level due to dam maintenance. The pond remains open for fishing and boating.