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Your Environmental Connection

News for Connecticut's Businesses & Municipalities
July 2016
Message  from  
Commissioner Klee

Here at DEEP we are grappling with ways to reduce spending in order to live with budget cuts that are part of the state budget for this year.
 
The so called "General Funds" we receive  - which represent about 37% of our overall budget  - were reduced by $10 million for this new fiscal year, which started July 1.  That represents a 14% reduction.
 
We will achieve $3.8 million of our required savings by leaving about 60 vacant positions unfilled.  We are then looking to find more than $6 million in additional savings by reducing spending across all of our bureaus.
 
You are likely to see some impacts as we make changes needed to reduce spending.  We won't be able to continue doing everything we now do - and we won't always be able to do things as quickly or effectively as we'd like.  Our priority will be on responding to issue or situations where there are significant or imminent threats to the environment or public health. 
 
DEEP is blessed with a dedicated staff that is committed to serving the public and regulated community.  There are simply going to be times, however, when they may not be able to address a matter of interest to you as quickly as we have in the past.  We appreciate your patience and cooperation.

Rob
 
In This Issue




 

 
 
 


Hurricane Preparedness Reminder 2016

Connecticut's hurricane season begins in June and lasts through November.  A preparedness reminder was sent by the Debris Interagency Management Task Force (DEEP/WEED, ConnDOT, and DESPP/DEMHS staff) to the Connecticut Council of Small Towns, the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities, DEMHS Regional Coordinators and FEMA Region I.  The June 7th email message included the following information:
 
Disaster Preparedness - The updated Disaster Debris Management Plan and State Concept of Operations Plan and other information are now posted on DEEP's Disaster Debris Management Preparedness web page.

Prepositioned Contracts - FEMA requires competitive bidding procedures for procurement of disaster debris management and monitoring services. The State has pre-positioned disaster debris management and monitoring contractors in place (if the towns choose to use them).    

Emergency Authorization - DEEP will issue an Emergency Authorization  for the management of storm debris at temporary sites operated by or for municipalities at municipal facilities, municipally owned properties and properties under lease agreement to the municipality.  The use of authorized Debris Management Sites is required for FEMA reimbursement.  

Open Burning - Open burning of brush by municipalities can only occur on municipally-owned land that has been approved as a solid waste disposal and/or recycling location.  Also, a permit has to have been issued by DEEP's Air Program.  
Turning up the Heat on CT Summers
This article continues a series on Connecticut's changing climate.

Over the past 110 years as the global climate has warmed in response to increasing levels of greenhouse gases, the temperature of an average summer day in Connecticut has risen about 2°F. Increases in other measures of warm weather have been more dramatic. The measure known as "cooling degree-days" - a crude indicator of the amount of air conditioning needed to keep an average building comfortable - has risen about 30 percent since 1905, according to National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration data. (The standard for the data depicted here is 65°F. A day whose average temperature is 80°F yields 15 cooling degree days.)
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Especially hot days are occurring much more frequently, too. Since 1905, the annual number of days with high temperatures over 90°F has trended upward from about 8 days to more than 20. And we can expect more hotter days in the near future. The federal government's National Climate Assessment predicts that with continued rapid increases in global atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases, parts of Connecticut routinely will see 30-40 days per year over 90°F in the middle of the century - on par with the very hottest summers of the 20thcentury and hotter than any between 1905 and the mid-1960s.
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Ozone Exceedance Days on the Rise

The onset of warmer weather and U.S. EPA's tightening the health-based ozone standard from 75 ppb to 70 ppb (over an 8-hour period), means that even though Connecticut's ground-level ozone pollution (also known as smog) concentrations are similar to last year, the number of days our state exceeds the health based standard are on the rise. DEEP is currently developing Connecticut's Clean Air Plan to address our air pollution challenge. This multi-pollutant plan will tie together local, regional and national emission control programs to, among other things, reduce nitrogen dioxide (NOx) and volatile organic compounds and set the framework to drastically drive down automobile pollution through greater vehicle electrification. The Plan will also incorporate other requirements such as the proposed update to the Reasonable Available Control Technology (RACT) regulations for NOx from fuel-burning units. By ensuring that our mobile and area sources meet reasonably available control measurers, we are improving air quality for everyone and reducing public health costs.
 
You can do your part to help protect air quality by asking employees to combine trips or share rides, fuel vehicles after 8 p.m., avoid using gasoline powered garden equipment during the hottest part of the day. Take action to protect your health on unhealthy days. Check the current local levels of ozone by visiting the   CT Air Quality Index website .  
A blue-green algae bloom in a CT lake
Photo: Chuck Lee
Blue-Green Algae Guidance for Local Health Departments    
Blue-green algae, also known as cyanobacteria, occur naturally in lakes and ponds throughout Connecticut.  These microscopic organisms often go unnoticed and cause no harm.  However, when nutrient loading exceeds certain levels, a water body can experience nuisance blue-green algae blooms that may produce and release toxins.  When blue-green algae blooms release toxins, people and animals using the water body for recreation can be affected. It is important to note that not all algae blooms are harmful blooms but it is not possible to determine the type of algae within the bloom without a more detailed evaluation.
 
The Connecticut Department of Public Health and DEEP, in collaboration with the Connecticut Association of Directors of Health, have produced guidance for local health officials regarding blue-green algae blooms. This document outlines the rationale for a response and presents a plan for surveillance and intervention designed to protect the public's health at lakes or ponds used for recreation. Visit the DEEP website for additional information on blue-green algae blooms .
Zika Virus added to Mosquito Monitoring Program
 
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The Connecticut Mosquito Management Program is now testing for Zika virus , in addition to West Nile virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis, during the seasonal mosquito trapping and testing program coordinated by the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station. The program monitors the types, numbers, and locations of mosquitoes and tests them for the presence of these viruses that can cause illness. Visit the Connecticut Mosquito Management Program web site for more information on the viruses, what can be done to prevent getting bitten by mosquitoes, and the latest mosquito test results and human infections. The Department of Public Health also provides more information on the Zika virus .
An oak tree defoliated by gypsy moth caterpillars in Mansfield, CT
Insects Causing Tree Damage in Connecticut 

Recent tree mortality and/or defoliation can often be linked to the presence of new native, and exotic invasive insects. Here are some of the more common culprits:
Gypsy moth: After widespread gypsy moth activity during summer of 2015 and many more reports of trees completely stripped of their leaves this year, the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES) announced widespread reports of dead or dying gypsy moth caterpillars in south central Connecticut (not so much in eastern towns) caused by the gypsy moth fungus Entomophaga maimagia . CAES is now conducting aerial surveys to help anticipate potential damage in 2017.

Southern pine beetle: The small, destructive Southern pine beetle has been detected throughout Connecticut . CAES continues to monitor this new native forest pest that has also selectively attacked Norway spruce and White pine along with its preferred hard pines such as Red, Australian and Pitch pines.The potential loss of Pitch pine is of grave concern due to the unique and highly valued habitat it provides for rare and endangered species dependent upon pine-oak sandy barrens.

Emerald ash borer: The invasive emerald ash borer was first discovered in Connecticut in 2012 and now occurs in all eight counties. The beetles have been causing greater mortality of the state's already declining ash tree population.

Asian longhorned beetle: Connecticut residents should be on the lookout for Asian longhorned beetle, which can be devastating to trees. It has been found in both New York and Massachusetts, so it may already be in our state. Learn to identify this beetle and understand the risk of transporting firewood over long distances.
 
To report a possible infestations of Southern pine beetle, emerald ash borer, or Asian longhorned beetle, call the CAES at 203-974-8474 or email CAES.StateEntomologist@ct.gov.
Municipality and Regions Win Support for Resilience Projects

The Connecticut Institute for Resilience and Climate Adaptation recently funded three innovative projects through its Municipal Resilience Grant Program. Each project will bolster local resilience and develop approaches that can be applied across the state as other communities work to prepare for the impacts of climate change and extreme weather.

Town of Oxford: Oxford and its partner, the Town of Seymour, will assess all road-stream crossings to identify structures that are undersized, given current and emerging climate conditions. The towns will develop pre-replacement plans for at-risk structures and develop road-stream crossing inventories and management plans. The resulting planning documents will be adopted as an annex to each town's Natural Hazard Mitigation Plan.
South Central Regional Council of Governments: The council will integrate climate change information into water planning processes for the region and develop an adaptation plan for this essential sector. It will then create a guide for other regional entities and municipalities on how to integrate climate change data into planning efforts.
Southeastern Connecticut Council of Governments: The council will identify flooding hazards and flood prevention options at critical facilities across the region, including fire and police stations, sewer and wastewater treatment systems, medical facilities, schools, town buildings, and senior housing.
Changes in Regulations for Emergency Engines

On May 4, 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued a decision changing several regulatory provisions for emergency engines in the RICE NESHAP and NSPS. The changes stem from a lawsuit, Delaware v. U.S. EPA , in which Delaware took issue with the treatment of emergency generators being used to generate power in non-emergency situations. The court ruled in favor of Delaware and vacated (i.e., struck down) portions of the rule that allowed emergency engines to operate for a limited number of hours per year in emergency demand response, or when there is a deviation of voltage or frequency of 5% or greater below standard voltage or frequency.
 
The U.S. EPA has published a guidance document outlining the changes in the standards imposed by this court decision and any questions regarding these changes should be directed to EPA Region 1 . Sources should also keep in mind that they are required to comply with all applicable Connecticut state regulations in addition to the RICE NESHAP and NSPS. 
Commercial General Permit Available

The General Permit to Construct and Operate a Commercial Facility for the Management of Recyclable Materials and Certain Solid Wastes, "Commercial GP," allows commercial facilities to manage various recyclable items and certain solid wastes under seven different facility categories. The categories include Asbestos Containing Material, Ash Residue, Clean Wood (including Leaves and Grass clippings, Construction and Demolition Wastes), Non-RCRA Hazardous Waste and Compatible Solid Wastes, Recyclables and Universal Waste and Compatible Solid Wastes.
 
People and businesses who aggregate recyclables and certain solid wastes at one location after being generated at different locations, and who are in the business of managing recyclables and solid waste or people/businesses providing services or goods may register under this GP. A registrant may seek authorization under this GP for up to five facility categories at one location. The Commercial GP provides uniform management standards for the different recyclable materials and solid waste and represents a streamlined approach to the permitting of small scale operations. It also provides opportunities for the development of small businesses, job creation and will help to achieve many of the goals outlined in CT's Solid Waste Management Plan, including 60% diversion of solid waste by 2024.
CT Businesses Collaborate on Sustainability
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The Business Sustainability Challenge (BSC) is an innovative program involving more than 20 companies. Sponsored by Energize Connecticut , BSC connects businesses with the resources they need to move along the path toward sustainability. Administered by United Illuminating and Eversource, this ratepayer-funded program helps each member business develop a strategic carbon and energy management plan as a foundation, then integrates issues such as waste, water, materials, employee engagement, sales, and innovation. BSC's overall goal is industry leadership through net-zero and net-positive operations.
 
Participating companies receive individual assistance from selected technical and strategic consultants, and they collaborate through peer roundtables focusing on best practices in manufacturing, wastewater facilities, nursing homes, agriculture, and higher education. Through the roundtables, businesses share ideas and cooperate to tackle issues like renewable energy and cost-effective recycling and material recovery.  BSC is building a culture of broader and deeper environmental gains through business competitiveness and cooperation. Join BSC and work with other companies to combat climate change and make Connecticut's business community more sustainable.
 
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DEEP Becoming a WRAP Champion  
DEEP is partnering with the American Chemistry Council's Wrap Action Recycling Program (WRAP) to increase flexible plastic film recycling for residents and businesses in CT. Flexible plastic film includes consumer and commercial products - including grocery and bread bags, dry cleaning film, and bubble wrap. Manufacturers can use recycled plastic film in outdoor lumber products and to make new packaging.
 
Plastic film and bags should not go in single-stream recycling, but often do. Bags become tangled in recycling sorting machinery requiring workers to stop machines to clean them out, which is a safety issue and costs money. DEEP is looking for municipalities and retailers to offer plastic film drop-off locations and to promote the WRAP initiative. If interested, contact Sherill Baldwin at 860-424-3440.
DEEP Holds Workshop on Dental Amalgam
Dental amalgam is a silver-colored material used to fill teeth that have cavities. It is made of two nearly equal parts - liquid mercury and a powder containing silver, tin, copper, zinc and other metals. DEEP recently held a half-day workshop focusing on the need to prevent mercury from dental offices being discharged into wastewater. It was attended by wastewater treatment plant operators, the state dental association, DEEP staff and others. Jay Pimpare, U.S. EPA, spoke about proposed federal regulations requiring all dentists to install and maintain amalgam separators as well as to follow other practices designed to prevent mercury amalgam from getting into the wastewater. Tom Tyler, Metropolitan District, spoke about the importance of preventing mercury from reaching the wastewater treatment plant. Connecticut incinerates its sewage sludge, which releases some mercury even with controls. Preventing mercury from reaching the sludge will make it easier to meet more stringent mercury emission limits.  
 
Connecticut dentists have been required to have an amalgam separator since 2005. Bea Milne and Tom Metzner, DEEP, spoke about a recent initiative to inform dentists about the best management practices and how to register with the department. DEEP has recently visited over 100 dentists and found that several either did not have a separator or weren't properly maintaining it. Copies of the presentations are available on the DEEP website.
State Parks Update

New state park facilities opened recently and continue the tradition of visitor comforts and municipal cooperation.

The multi-town Air Line Trail State Park, which passes through more than a  dozen towns as it courses its way through eastern Connecti cut got a major boost to its continuity with the opening of a new bridge over the Willimantic River in Windham. The trail had dead-ended on both sides of the river for years but was finally joined in late spring with the ribbon cutting of the newly completed Willimantic River Bridge.
 
At Hammonasset Beach State Park in Madison the new West Beach Bath House enjoyed its opening just prior to Memorial Day with its new concession area and modern restroom facilities resulting in immediate popularity.   The new construction increased the buildings' size and scope,  and is the result of damage to the previous beach houses from Superstorm Sandy in 2012. It incorporates easy handicapped access and sufficient elevation to keep it safe from predicted sea level rise over the coming years. Also the new, improved and expanded nature center has opened at Meigs Point. This state-of-the-art facility is a "must-see" for anyone visiting the park. Hammonasset Beach draws visitors from more than 150 towns in Connecticut. 
View new video about the park
DEEP Improves Enforcement Coordination
Gas station inspection by DEEP's Storage Tank Enforcement Program



DEEP's Enforcement and Compliance Committee recently updated the agency's Enforcement Coordination Plan. The goal of the Plan is to improve communication and coordination between DEEP's various divisions so that violations and corrective actions will be more efficiently addressed.

 As part of this update, DEEP's inspectors were trained on using a multi-media checklist to identify violations while in the field.  This training will enable the inspectors to identify violations across the agency's many different program areas and to report them to the appropriate  division. For more information, visit DEEP's Enforcement webpage.
2015 GreenCircle Sustainability Awards
     
DEEP and the Hartford Business Journal honored the 2015 GreenCircle Sustainability Award winners on May 23th at Infinity Music Hall in Hartford.   Awards were presented in the following categories: business, government, individuals/groups, schools, and universities. Since its launch in 1998 to highlight those making positive contributions to the quality of Connecticut's environment, the GreenCircle Awards program has recognized over 1,100 individuals, businesses, schools, and organizations for projects that conserved energy, water, and waste, protected our natural resources, and increased public awareness of environmental issues through education and engagement.
 
In 2015, DEEP revamped the awards program to focus on the importance of sustainability, recognizing those entities that have adopted a coordinated, innovative, and holistic approach to reducing the environmental impact and resource demands of their organizations or communities. Joining forces with the Hartford Business Journal helped DEEP to draw more attention to the program and show that the solutions to our 21st century environmental challenges lie not just with DEEP or legislation but also with the volunteer efforts of Connecticut business owners, educators, municipalities, and concerned individuals and groups. (List of award winners and program information)
Street before upgrade to LED lighting
LEDs: Your Town's Next Street Lights? 

More Connecticut municipalities have been upgrading their municipal street lights to LED technology. LEDs last longer, need less maintenance, use much less energy than high-pressure sodium lights, and the lighting quality is superior. East Hartford retrofitted all 5,000 municipally-owned units in a six-month, $2 million project that should save the town $300,000 per year. Plainville, West Hartford, and Middletown have retrofitted some or all of their streetlights. Energize CT supports these municipal upgrades with rebates of up to 40 percent of the installed cost.
 
Street after upgrade to LED lighting
Photos: Avangrid 
The utilities are getting on board, too. Eversource has retrofitted about 1,000 utility-owned fixtures in Waterbury, Berlin, and other towns upon request. Meanwhile, United Illuminating is systematically replacing all utility-owned street lights throughout its territory. In the first year of the program, UI retrofitted more than 15,000 fixtures in Bridgeport and Stratford.
    
A note of caution: LEDs that have bright blue light can harm human sleep cycles and disrupt migrating wildlife. The American Medical Association recommends minimizing blue lighting, shielding all outdoor LED lights, and using models that can be dimmed. Most communities start by testing a few lights or converting a sample area. For their conversion, Madison chose LED units with minimum blue-light emission.
Taking Action through Integrated Water Resource Management

DEEP is taking a new approach to protect and restore water quality across the State of Connecticut. This enhanced initiative is intended to make more efficient use of State resources through a coordinated review of waterbodies, focusing on existing opportunities that may produce the best water quality returns on investment. Key to success is building upon partnerships with municipalities and non-governmental organizations, and working collaboratively towards water quality goals.  This program is allowable under existing Federal Clean Water Act authority and does not create new regulations.  
 
For all waterbodies selected through this Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) process, DEEP is committed to developing an action plan to improve water quality and enhance water resources.  The goal is to complete an action plan for each selected waterbody by 2022.  Some plans will be completed before this goal year. These action plans will be developed with help from municipalities and others through normal permitting efforts, previously completed watershed management plans and other appropriate means. A comprehensive explanation is available at the IWRM webpage. Any questions or comments on the process or resulting list of waterbodies can be directed to Chris Sullivan, DEEP Bureau of Water Protection and Land Reuse.
 
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Experience Connecticut Fishing

DEEP's Inland Fisheries Division offers a variety of ways to learn about and experience fishing:

CT Fishin' Tips is a free monthly E-newsletter with information, pointers, tips, and news from DEEP's fisheries programs.
 
The Weekly Fishing Report is a summary of fresh and saltwater fishing activity in Connecticut collected from tackle stores around the state. The reports run every week from Opening Day in April to the end of November and may also feature periodic reports of ice fishing activity during the winter months.
 
This year, DEEP designated two " Free Fishing License Days " - the first was on Father's Day and the second day will be on August 13th. This is just one of DEEP's initiatives developed to connect people with outdoor activities and Connecticut's natural resources. The free license for August 13 will be available starting July 27 through the mobile friendly DEEP online sportsmen licensing system .
 
Take a Connecticut Aquatic Resources Education (CARE) class and learn about the wonders of water, fish, and fishing. Find a class scheduled in your area from the list of upcoming CARE classes . Watch our Learn To Fish video, which introduces viewers to the CARE Family Fishing Course. 
 
Additional fishing information can be found on the DEEP website , the CT Fish and Wildlife Facebook page , and Twitter: @ctfishinginfo .
Dry Hydrant Grants for Fire Departments

Eight local fire departments in seven communities have been awarded State Fire Assistance Dry Hydrant Grants to help fund the cost of installing 14 dry hydrants. Dry hydrants provide invaluable water supply when pressurized fire hydrants are not an option or when additional water is required to suppress difficult and/or large fires. These federal funds, which are administered by DEEP's Division of Forestry, have been made available through the United States Forest Service, State Fire Assistance Program. This program provides a $1,500 cost share reimbursement for the installation of each dry hydrant. For more information on dry hydrants and their benefits to Connecticut communities, please view the   Dry Hydrants and Fire Protection video.
Energy and Climate Roundup

Shared Clean Energy Facilities -DEEP recently issued the final RFP for the Shared Clean Energy Facility ("community solar") pilot program, which will develop ways for a broader range of electric customers to participate in producing low-carbon energy.

Climate change stakeholders - The Governor's Council on Climate Change has announced a stakeholder engagement event on July 26 . The event is being organized by CT Roundtable on Climate and Jobs.

Energy on the Line - CT Green Bank is offering grants to manufacturers for renewable energy and energy efficiency upgrades.

Transit-oriented development - Gov. Malloy has awarded $11 million for 20 projects across the state.
Petition to EPA to Improve Connecticut's Air Quality

Air pollution does not respect state boundaries; it can be transported hundreds of miles on prevailing winds and impact public health. This phenomenon is known as interstate air pollution transport and every state is required to ensure their pollution does not significantly impact their downwind neighbors. Unfortunately, not all states meet this requirement and Connecticut has no authority to reduce air pollution from upwind states. Under the Clean Air Act a downwind state can petition U.S. EPA to take regulatory action against industries located in upwind states that significantly contributes to poor air quality in their state.  
 
To improve Connecticut's air quality, DEEP recently filed a petition with EPA requesting a finding that three coal-fired electric generating units at the Brunner Island Steam Electric Station in York County, Pennsylvania, are operating in violation of the Clean Air Act because they significantly contribute to ozone levels that exceed the 2008 ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standard in our state. If the U.S. EPA grants the petition, Brunner Island will have three years to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions, a precursor pollutant of ozone, such that the plant no longer emits at an amount that contributes to ozone exceedances in Connecticut. The EPA has 60 days after receiving the petition to make a finding.    
 
Ozone Impacts from Brunner Island power plant
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Urban Bird Treaty Cities: Hartford and New Haven 

The Urban Bird Treaty program helps municipal governments conserve birds that live and nest in or overwinter or migrate through their cities. Launched in 1999, the program is a unique, collaborative effort between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and participating U.S. citi es bringing together private citizens, federal, state, and municipal agencies, and non-governmental organizations. Cities can become effective sanctuaries for birds and other wildlife, with an environmentally aware citizenry dedicated to conserving and enhancing natural resources.
 
Hartford was designated an Urban Bird Treaty City in 2012 and received a grant from the USFWS to improve migratory bird habitat within Hartford Parks, and to develop educational guidelines that describe bird habitat characteristics in detail, so that city staff, area non-profits, and citizens can participate in enhancing bird habitat throughout the city. New Haven was designated an Urban Bird Treaty City in May 2016 due to its Urban Oases Initiative, which works with local communities and neighborhoods to make a difference for the environment and foster natural resource stewardship. Audubon Connecticut was awarded the grant to support the Urban Oases efforts, which will be carried out in partnership with a number of schools, community groups, and conservation organizations.
ReuseConex Coming to New England 

DEEP is partnering with the Massachusetts DEP, U.S. EPA Region 1, the Reuse Institute and others to coordinate ReuseConex, Conference and Expo , scheduled for October 17-19, 2016 in Somerville, MA. The theme is
Leveraging REUSE in the Circular Economy, focuses on bringing real-world reuse practices to life.
 
ReuseConex provides a unique platform that shares innovative reuse initiatives, transformative ideas and replicable/scalable programs, research and policy. Reuse enterprises provide triple bottom line benefits: financial, social and environmental. DEEP has a number of reuse initiatives including deconstru ction, building material reuse, creative reuse, food donation, electronics, and textiles. Registration is now open and the Summer Saver rate ends August 31, 2016.  


Need to contact DEEP? Find the most up-to-date phone numbers for our program areas, a list of who to contact to report environmental concerns or problems, an A to Z subject directory, and other information about our agency on our Contact Us webpage.