The Clean Water Blog

Long Island Sound  / photo: cc

Weather and Pollution

Hurricane Michael, a historic category 4 hurricane has devastated the Florida panhandle. Connecticut also experienced some extremely serious weather events earlier this month including two tornadoes touching down in New Canaan and Mansfield that downed trees and ripped shingles off roofs. Golf ball sized hail in Fairfield county, high winds and intense rainfall covered the state. According to meteorologists, Connecticut has had eight tornadoes this year, a highly unusual phenomenon.  The intense downpour of rain caused flooding in many areas across the state, blocking roads and damaging homes.  

These serious weather events are not only frightening, they cause more pollution from stormwater runoff. Stormwater runoff occurs when rain water doesn’t seep into the ground but runs off land and impervious surfaces like roads, parking lots and driveways, picking up chemical contaminants, salts and nutrients that flow into storm drains, causing polluted water to flow directly into waterways. Intense rains also cause combined sewers to overflow leading to more frequent raw sewage discharges directly into rivers and sometimes backing up into streets and homes!

Intense storms and higher amounts of rainfall resulted in an overall increase of pollution from 2017 in Connecticut. A recent report shows that high levels of nitrogen remains the number one cause of low oxygen levels and dead zones in Long Island Sound. Low oxygen levels cause the death of aquatic species, harmful algal blooms and death of coastal marshlands.

These threats to our waters are harmful to public health, the health of the environment and Connecticut’s economy.  Climate change is causing more frequent and intense storms which are a serious threat to the health of our waters and we’re seeing the results. Clean Water Action is leading efforts to prevent rollbacks of the federal Clean Water Rule and here in Connecticut, we’re supporting the State Water Plan, fighting for protections against privatization of water for bottling, protecting lands that filter and purify groundwater and advocating for comprehensive policies that reduce exposure and limit contamination from toxic perflourinated chemicals, chemicals found in numerous products that are harmful to health and the environment.  Connecticut is fortunate to have abundant sources of water but we can’t be complacent. Want to learn more?  Contact us to host a conversation about protecting water in your community!