Long Island Sound funding will clean water & prepare for storms

Save the Sound, a bi-state program of Connecticut Fund for the Environment, today applauds the passage of state bonding that will benefit Long Island Sound, inland waters, and communities throughout the state.

In this week’s special session of the Connecticut General Assembly, the Clean Water Fund, the primary mechanism for funding wastewater treatment and sewer projects in Connecticut, received much-needed support to keep pollution reduction efforts on target. S.B. 1501, An Act Authorizing and Adjusting Bonds of the State for Capital Improvement, Transportation and Other Purposes, authorizes $140 million in grants and $238 million in low-interest loans to municipalities in fiscal years 2016 and 2017. These funds will be available for projects to keep raw sewage from our rivers and Long Island Sound, reduce the nitrogen fueling the low-oxygen dead zones in the Sound, and remove the excess phosphorous that causes significant water quality problems inland.

“The General Assembly and Governor have proven that clean water is a state priority,” said Leah Lopez Schmalz, program director at CFE/Save the Sound. “These Clean Water Fund investments to remove nitrogen and phosphorus and to reduce sewage in our rivers are paired with an additional $20 million for green infrastructure projects that absorb and filter stormwater to prevent flooding and pollution—all of which will result in cleaner rivers and a healthier Long Island Sound,” said Schmalz. “We are also grateful that our leaders recognize Connecticut’s need to plan for climate change impacts along our coast and rivers. By authorizing $20 million for resiliency projects, the state will enhance the ability of our natural ecosystems to protect the state’s citizens and communities from effects like flooding and rising sea levels, while simultaneously restoring critical habitats.”

Funding was not the only victory for Connecticut’s waters in the special session. Provisions of S.B. 1502 to phase out the plastic microbeads found in some face scrubs, toothpaste, and hand soap also received the legislature’s stamp of approval. “We’re pleased that Connecticut, along with a handful of other states, recognize the harm that these tiny plastic pellets do by absorbing pollutants and carrying them through the ecosystem to our wildlife,” said Schmalz.

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