Environmental Accomplishments of the Past 40 Years
Nonpoint Source Management Program Developed
In 1990, Connecticut developed a Nonpoint Source (NPS) Management Program under Section 319 of the Federal Clean Water Act. This program is designed to protect the quality of the state’s waters by limiting and reducing pollution that can be carried into them by rainwater from urban areas, lawns, parking lots and other impervious paved areas, construction sites and farms. NPS pollution occurs when rainfall, snowmelt, or irrigation, runs over land or through the ground, picks up pollutants, and deposits them into rivers, lakes, and groundwater. NPS pollutants also create adverse changes to the vegetation, shape, and flow of streams and other aquatic systems.
Since this program was established in 1990, Connecticut has also taken additional steps to address NPS. These include:
- Creation of the Coastal Nonpoint Source Pollution Control Program, 2003
- Establishment of a “No Discharge Area” for all Connecticut waters of Long Island Sound in 2007
Additional Details: 319 NPS Program
The Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (CT DEP) Nonpoint Source (NPS) Program works to abate known water quality impairments and prevent significant threats to water quality from nonpoint source pollution. A significant strength of the program is its networked approach to nonpoint source management. CT DEP has formed partnerships with a wide range of public agencies, industry organizations, and private (citizens) groups to implement nonpoint source management. Connecticut’s NPS Program is well-balanced, with an appropriate mix of statewide programs and geographically targeted watershed projects. The state NPS Program includes all the components required under the federal Clean Water Act (CWA) Section 319(h) (Nonpoint Source Management Programs). The CT DEP NPS Program is supported by both federal and state funds. The CT DEP Bureau of Water Protection and Land Reuse (BWPLR) administers grants funded under the Clean Water Act (CWA) Section 319(h). From FY90-09, Section 319 grants totaling over $24.5 million has funded 460 projects along with CT DEP NPS Program support.
Additional Details: Coastal NPS Program
As required by Section 6217 of the federal Coastal Zone Act Reauthorization Amendments of 1990, the State of Connecticut developed a program to address coastal water quality problems resulting from nonpoint source pollution. The purpose of the program is to implement specific management measures to control nonpoint source pollution in coastal waters. Management measures are economically achievable measures that reflect the best available technology for reducing pollutants.
The state’s coastal nonpoint source pollution control program is comprised of several well-established and effective programs to reduce or eliminate nonpoint course pollution affecting coastal waters. Two notable accomplishments that are direct results of Connecticut’s development of a coastal nonpoint source pollution control program are: (1) a watershed protection plan was developed for the Niantic River watershed and is in the process of being implemented, and (2) Connecticut’s Clean Marina Program was developed in an effort to implement several of the management measures in the marinas and recreational boating category.
Some remaining challenges include the need for continued funding for program implementation, and the need for leadership and political commitment at all levels of government to support implementation of state programs.
Additional Details: 2007 - No Discharge Area Designation
In an effort to improve and preserve the quality of coastal waters in Long Island Sound and its harbors, DEP has taken steps to ban all sewage discharge from all vessels into coastal waters. Since its inception, the federal Clean Water Act has prohibited the discharge of untreated sewage from vessels in all of Long Island Sound. Now, eliminating the release of all sewage from boats, both treated and untreated, will result in further reductions of human fecal waste discharge and, therefore, reductions in nutrient loading and potential human exposure to bacterial and viral pathogens in swimming areas, shellfish beds and other environmentally sensitive aquatic habitats.
At a celebration on July 26, 2007, Governor Rell announced completion of OLISP’s five-year effort to win federal EPA approval of No Discharge Area (NDA) designation for coastal waters statewide. Connecticut has designated No Discharge Areas (NDAs) in all of Connecticut's coastal waters from the Rhode Island state boundary in the Pawcatuck River to the New York State Boundary in the Byram River and extending from shore out to the New York state boundary. In these waters the discharge of any sewage from any vessel is prohibited. EPA has approved the No Discharge Areas pursuant to Section 312(f)(3) of the Federal Clean Water Act as amended.
Through these three programs, Connecticut DEP has incorporated Nonpoint Source Pollution Prevention into day-to-day environmental protection culture and overall public awareness by addressing these topics in everything we do, ranging from direct regulatory decision making and enforcement efforts to planning and watershed management and environmental education programming.
What You Can Do
- Never pour anything down a stormdrain
- Properly use and maintain your septic system
- Don’t litter
- Pick up after your pet
- Maintain your vehicle to prevent oil, gas, and antifreeze leaks
- Use a commercial car wash or wash your car on the lawn to reduce runoff of detergents and other contaminants to the stormdrain system
- Compost and recycle whenever possible
- Limit the use of pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers in your yard
- Waterfront property owners should keep a natural vegetated buffer between the edge of their lawns and the lake, pond, or river next to their property
- Get involved in local land use planning and zoning, and make sure nonpoint source pollution controls and Low Impact Development techniques are included in development projects
- Organize or support a community clean-up day to keep litter out of local waterways
- Place trash in covered containers
- Choose household cleaners thoughtfully
- Prevent soil erosion by reseeding bare areas in your lawn
- Conserve water
- Have your septic system inspected annually
- Never discharge sewage from your boat – use pumpout facilities
- Keep your boat at a CT Certified Clean Marina, or encourage your marina operator to become certified