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Your Environmental Connection

News for Connecticut's Businesses & Municipalities
   April 2015

Message  from
Commissioner Klee 

At DEEP, we are focused on nurturing the next generation of environmental stewards.  After all, if we don't engage children in the outdoors and the world of nature, they are unlikely to care much about protecting natural resources as adults.

So we've invited youngsters to help us stock numerous rivers and ponds with fish for the fishing season and we are about to launch the 10th season of our Great Park Pursuit.  Through this program, youngsters and their families can visit state parks across Connecticut and engage in fun and educational outdoor activities.  You can find out more about the Great Park Pursuit by visiting nochildleftinside.org.

I know your community is likely to have activities that help get children outside and away from the television and computer screen and we thank everyone who supports such efforts.   Working together we can help raise a generation that is healthier, happier, and more aware of the world around them.

Happy spring. 

  

Rob

  

Commissioner Klee stocking trout at Lake Wintergreen. 

   

In This Issue




 

 
 
 


CIRCA Matching Funds Program

 

The Connecticut Institute for Resilience and Climate Adaptation (CIRCA) is a partnership of the UConn and DEEP, with the mission to assist Connecticut towns and cities with adaptation to a changing climate and enhancing the resilience of their infrastructure. CIRCA has up to $100,000 available to CT municipalities, institutions, universities, foundations, and other non-governmental organizations for matching funds for projects that address the mission of the Institute. Project proposals should develop knowledge and/or experience that is transferable to multiple locations in the state and have well-defined and measureable goals. Preference will be given to those that involve collaboration with CIRCA to address at least one of the priority areas. Matching Funds requests will be accepted on a rolling basis. Awardees must confirm availability of the primary funding source related to the proposal within six months. The first review will be held on May 15, 2015 and every two months thereafter. Questions? Contact CIRCA_matchingfunds@uconn.edu.

Funding for Clean-Fueled Vehicles and Public EV Charging Stations

Municipalities and state agencies that are considering purchasing clean-fueled vehicles (electric, hybrid electric, natural gas, or propane) for their fleets should be aware that DOT's annual Clean Fuel Program is accepting applications until April 30, 2015. If selected for an award, the grants pay the differential cost between a clean fuel vehicle and the equivalent conventional vehicle.

 

Transforming the fleet to zero emissions is key to achieving our climate and energy goals.  Today's Electric Vehicles (EVs) are a good fit for many town and municipal fleet operations. Combining DOT's Clean Fuel vehicle grant with EVConnecticut funding for charging infrastructure is a win-win that will allow towns and municipalities to save lots of green while going green!  If your town or municipal (or even state) facility is interested in specific details about EV charging station incentives that are currently available, please visit the EVConnecticut incentive webpage.

Long Island Sound Futures Fund Seeking Proposals  

 

The Long Island Sound Futures Fund (LISFF) is currently accepting applications for projects to improve the aquatic and ecosystem health of Long Island Sound.   This year's program priorities include: Urban Waters; Clean Water and Healthy Watersheds; Thriving Habitats and Abundant Wildlife; and Educating to Engage Sustainable and Resilient Communities. See the LISFF 2015 Request for Proposals for detailed information and application materials. Proposals are due on May 7, 2015.  Non-profit 501(c) organizations, state and interstate government agencies, local governments, municipal governments, Indian tribes, and educational institutions are eligible to apply.   LISFF is administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation in collaboration and with support from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Long Island Sound Study (LISS) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. DEEP is a LISS partner.

 Municipal Brownfields Workbook Now Interactive 

 

The PREPARED Workbook is a valuable tool to manage the brownfield redevelopment process. PREPARED is a framework for evaluating actions that a local government might take to facilitate desired reuse at contaminated properties it does not own. It can help municipal decision-makers identify and manage potential risks, including environmental liability, and foster effective communication and coordination with professionals involved in the redevelopment project. 

 

EPA and DEEP have converted the EPA PREPARED Workbook into interactive webpages describing the Process for Risk Evaluation, Property Analysis, and Reuse Decisions to redevelop brownfields. It contains editable forms that allow municipalities to consolidate and store needed information on potential brownfield redevelopment projects. The webpages break this complex process down into practical, achievable steps and includes a list of resources helpful in various stages of the process. Connecticut's Workbook is the first state-specific, web version of EPA's PREPARED Workbook.   

Southern Pine Beetle Found in Three Connecticut Counties

The small, destructive Southern pine beetle ( Dendroctonus frontalis) has been detected at four sites in New Haven, Litchfield and Hartford Counties by the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES) and DEEP and confirmed by the USDA Forest Service.  This beetle is native to the Southeastern United States where it infests and kills large stands of pine. Connecticut's native white pine (a "soft" pine) is not at risk, but pitch pine and other "hard" pines are. The potential loss of pitch pine is of concern because it provides habitat for rare and endangered species dependent upon pine-oak sandy barrens. It is unclear how, or when, the beetle arrived in Connecticut. Trapping began in mid-April to determine beetle overwintering success. Visual surveys are underway to determine the extent of the infestation. Pines attempt to push out attacking beetles with a flow of resin.  Attacked trees become covered with small popcorn-like blobs of dried resin (see photo above). If the attack is successful, beetles lay eggs under the bark and larvae then feed on the circulatory system of the tree, killing it in one to two years. If you see pines with the popcorn resin, please contact CAES at ctstateentomologist@ct.gov or call 203-974-8474.

Tree City USA Communities

Tree planting in Bridgeport

 

Tree City USA is an honor earned by cities and towns that meet four standards set by the Arbor Day Foundation and have their application approved the State Forester. The four standards are having:

  • A tree board or department
  • A tree care ordinance
  • An urban forestry program with an annual budget of at least $2 per capita
  • An Arbor Day observance and proclamation

Connecticut currently has 18 Tree City USAs. The program was initiated by the Arbor Day Foundation in 1976. DEEP's Urban Forestry Program is willing to work with any community interested in exploring whether it qualifies as a Tree City USA and what is needed to earn that designation.  Many communities might be surprised at how close they are.  Applications for next year's honor are due in December.

Managing Small Business Hazardous Waste

 

Small businesses are often unaware of their responsibilities for managing hazardous wastes. Many dispose of paints, fluorescent lights, pesticides and other harmful chemicals in the garbage or by pouring them down the drain. By law, these businesses must make a determination if their wastes are hazardous and are prohibited from disposing of any hazardous wastes in the regular trash. Many small businesses, known as conditionally exempt small quantity generators, (CESQGs) can bring their hazardous waste to household hazardous waste (HHW) collections, which typically take place in the Spring and Fall. The household hazardous waste collections in some Connecticut towns allow CESQGs to bring their waste to the event for proper disposal.  However, in order for a small business to do this, it must submit certain forms describing the wastes that need to be disposed of, and obtain approval prior to the day of the event. At least five days prior to the date of collection, submit a signed CESQG Approval Form to the HHW program administrator certifying that the business is a Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Generator.  Information and forms are on DEEP's Bringing Small Business Hazardous Waste to Household Hazardous Waste Collections webpage.

Household Hazardous Waste Disposal Options

 

Although most CT municipalities hold household hazardous waste (HHW) collections between May and October, often residents are unable to drop off their items on the collection dates and will call their town for guidance. There are other options that you can let them know about, such as retail locations participating in specific take-back programs:

  • Automotive batteries may be taken to a battery retailer.
  • Some stores take back cell phones and rechargeable batteries - www.call2recycle.org.
  • Some stores take back compact fluorescent lamps (e.g., Home Depot, Lowe's, IKEA). 
  • Paint, stain, and varnish can be dropped off at participating retailers - www.paintcare.org.
  • Another option is to contract a licensed hauler to remove the HHW (although it could be expensive) - check the transporter list
    or the "hazardous waste removal" section of the yellow pages.
  • Another option is the New England Disposal Technologies Household Products Collection Centers, located in Sutton and Westfield, MA. These sites are licensed as commercial household hazardous waste collection facilities and are both a short drive from the MA/CT line.  Visit http://nedt.org  for hours of operation, the materials they can and cannot take, and the rates that they charge for the materials they accept.

Safe Disposal of Unwanted Medications

 

In the past, people were advised to flush unwanted drugs down the drain but flushing drugs down the toilet or sink can harm aquatic life and plants and pollute our water. Fortunately consumers have several other options for disposing of prescription medications and OTC products safely. There are local police stations throughout the state participating in a Drop Box Drug Disposal program with the Department of Consumer Protection's Drug Control Division. Residents can discard their unwanted or unused medicines in special locked boxes any time the police department lobby is open. Residents do not need to complete forms or answer questions about the items they drop off.    Needles or "sharps" are not accepted. A new pharma-disposal drop box locator tool has been developed by Citizen's Campaign for the Environment.  

 

Also, chain pharmacies such as CVS, Walgreens and Rite Aid provide disposal envelopes for prescription and over the counter medicines. Another option for residents is to follow the disposal instructions and put them in the trash. Almost all of the garbage in Connecticut is sent to resource recovery facilities where it is burned at very high temperatures. More information at www.ct.gov/deep/medsdisposal.

Proper Storage of Discarded Tires to Prevent Mosquitoes

 

Discarded tires are not only unsightly, but can be unhealthy when they provide ample habitat for mosquitoes and other pests. When tires are either stacked or left in a heap and uncovered, rainwater can easily collect in the tires, allowing mosquito eggs to hatch. Scrap tires should be disposed of promptly and properly to prevent mosquitoes from hatching. Store them under cover (roof, awning, trailer, storage container) or stack them and cover with plywood or other flat cover to prevent rainwater from entering. A factsheet on proper storage and how to manage for mosquitoes are on the Connecticut Mosquito Management Program website.

Generating Clean Energy on CT Brownfields

 

Most of Connecticut's municipalities have at least one landfill formerly used for municipal garbage, incinerator ash, or other waste.  Although these and other contaminated sites are not fit for housing and other types of development, they may provide suitable locations for photovoltaic installations, wind turbines, and other facilities that produce clean energy.

 

Do the costs and difficulties of redeveloping a brownfield for clean energy generation seem daunting? Incentives and technical assistance are available and can help drive down the cost of redeveloping contaminated land. DEEP, in conjunction with the Department of Economic and Community Development, has designed a new web page to help you research the numerous state and federal resources available for siting clean energy facilities on brownfields. It's a one-stop-shop of information and tools for converting troubled terrain into important new sources of green energy. Visit Siting Clean Energy on Connecticut Brownfields to find technical guidance and information on incentives, potential locations, and liability limitations.

 

Hartford Landfill Shines

Aerial view of solar array at Hartford Landfill
 Photo: Materials Innovations and Recycling Authority 

 

The solar array at the Hartford municipal landfill along Interstate 91 is a good example of putting brownfields to use to generate clean power. The facility's 3,993 photovoltaic panels (commissioned in 2014) produce up to 1 megawatt of electricity -- enough to

supply about 1,000 homes -- and are expected to generate revenue of $200,000 annually. The project is funded in part by the state's Zero Emission Renewable Energy Credit Program.

New RICE NESHAP Training Tool   

 

The U.S. EPA's RICE NESHAP (National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Stationary Reciprocating Internal Combustion Engines (40 CFR 63, Subpart ZZZZ)) could impact engines located at Connecticut's industrial, institutional and commercial establishments. The rule regulates emissions from RICE of all sizes at major and area sources of hazardous air pollutants. It includes emission limits as well as monitoring, recordkeeping, and reporting requirements for affected engines. In order to promote compliance with this rule, DEEP has developed a set of user-friendly online training modules. The user simply answers a series of questions regarding the source's potential HAP emissions, engine's size and construction date. Based on the answers given, the user will be guided to the appropriate module, which will quickly and easily provide the specific requirements for the unit. If you have any questions regarding the training modules, please contact Keith Hill.

Three Connecticut School Bus Fleets Get U.S. EPA Funds  

 

Three school districts in Connecticut are receiving a total of 11 new school buses that are 90% cleaner than the 2010 or older buses that they are replacing. Killingly School District, Montville Public Schools and Martel Transportation serving Canton schools were among the five fleets in New England and 76 fleets from across 30 states that were chosen by the U.S. EPA to receive funding through the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act. The U.S. EPA has put in place more stringent standards to make diesel engines cleaner but many older diesel school buses are still on Connecticut's roads today. Nitrogen oxides and particulate matter emissions from the school buses can lead to asthma and respiratory problems. The good news is that the American School Bus Council estimates each school bus takes about 36 cars off the road each day, which reduces emissions and saves fuel. 

Park Passes Available at Local Libraries

 

DEEP has partnered with the Connecticut Library Consortium again this season to provide State Parks and Forests Day Passes at the main library branch for each Connecticut town.  The Pass can be used to waive established entrance fees at all state parks and forests. It can be checked out by any patron who has a library card and may be borrowed, free of charge. Check the website for further details and remember sign up is typically first come first served.  

   

The 10th Anniversary of the Great Park Pursuit

 

The Great Park Pursuit's (GPP) 10th anniversary season will begin with Family Fishing Day on Saturday, May 9th at Gay City State Park, Hebron and progress weekly through the spring concluding on June 21, 2015. As part of the state's No Child Left Inside ® program, it has been fun for hundreds of families over the past nine years and helped introduce kids and their parents to the great outdoors showcased in Connecticut's state parks.   This year once again we have exciting activities planned. We hope you can join us to discover all the fabulous CT State Parks and Forests and the wonderful recreational opportunities they provide.

Fishing Updates

 

Opening Day of the 2015 trout season was moved up one week earlier, from the third Saturday in April to the second Saturday in April. This year, the season opened on April 11. Season details are in the

A Free Fishing Day is scheduled for May 9, 2015. Both Connecticut residents and nonresidents can fish any public waters in the state without having a fishing license. Several fishing-related activities are planned for the day.  

 

Free Fishing License Days are scheduled for June 21 and August 15, 2015. Anyone can fish for free on these days provided they have obtained a one-day free fishing license. These licenses will be available approximately three weeks prior to each date through the DEEP's convenient Online Sportsmen's Licensing System, now mobile friendly.

Wildlife Encounters - A Few Reminders on What to Do

 

The arrival of spring brings increased chances for encounters between people and wild animals. To avoid conflicts with bears, coyotes, and foxes, do not approach or try to feed them. Remove any food sources, such as garbage, pet food, bird feeders, and suet, from your yard. Report sightings of bears to the DEEP Wildlife Division.

 

Orphaned Wildlife: Although they may appear to be "orphaned," the adult is probably close by, waiting for you to leave. It is best to leave the animal alone. If you are absolutely certain a wild animal has been injured or orphaned, before touching or moving it, contact the DEEP Wildlife Division at 860-424-3011 or contact an authorized wildlife rehabilitator.

 

Young Raccoon
Photo by Paul Fusco 

Wildlife Problems: Many wildlife species, such as squirrels, raccoons, or bats, will use houses or other buildings for shelter and as a place for raising young. Visit DEEP's website for information on how to handle problems with wildlife. A licensed Nuisance Wildlife Control Operator can be hired if professional assistance is needed for solving common nuisance wildlife problems.

 

Rabies Awareness: To prevent exposure to rabid animals, vaccinate pets against rabies and never approach any animal, domestic or wild, that is acting disoriented or is unusually tame or aggressive. Suspected rabid animals should be reported to the local police or animal control officer. If local authorities cannot be reached, contact DEEP at 860-424-3333 for guidance

Educational Wildlife Signs Available

    

DEEP's Wildlife Division has produced signs that municipalities, businesses, and other groups can use to inform the public about various wildlife species and issues:

"Do Not Feed the Waterfowl" vinyl signs that measure 20" X 24" can be obtained free-of-charge by sending an email request to deep.ctwildlife@ct.gov. You will be contacted for further information. The printing of these signs was made possible through grants and support from cooperating organizations and agencies. 

A "Be Bear Aware" poster (which can be printed or downloaded) gives advice on preventing conflicts with bears and on what to do if you encounter a bear. Three different sizes are available: small-8 ½"x 11", medium-8 ½"x14", and large-11"x17". The posters can be displayed at town halls, visitor centers, parks, schools, and other public buildings/locations.

"Stay Away from Bird Nesting Area" signs can printed or downloaded 

to post near osprey nesting platforms. Use your printer menu to scale the sign to whatever size is needed. Signs should be laminated to prevent weather damage.

Reducing Cigarette Litter

 

More than four trillion cigarette butts are littered onto the ground annually. They are not only unsightly but have harmful impacts on the environment. Most cigarette filters are made of cellulose acetate (a form of plastic) and do not easily break down, posing a hazard to aquatic life and other animals when they mistake them for food. Contributing to the problem is that no smoking laws require most people to go outdoors to smoke and there may be no receptacles available for the extinguished butts. Also, auto makers have been phasing out ash trays as a standard feature in new cars.

 

Fortunately two Connecticut families have been working to address the

Sam and Dan Kruger collect cigarette butts at Gulf Beach in Milford

problem and recently received a GreenCircle Award from DEEP for their efforts. Their No Butts About It campaign has worked with municipalities, businesses and others throughout the state, including at Hammonasset Beach State Park, to raise awareness and provide solutions to cigarette litter. They partnered with the national organization Keep America Beautiful to create the first statewide cigarette litter prevention program. Places that have implemented a prevention initiative have decreased cigarette litter by 50% or more.  

Resources to start a campaign in your town or at your business



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.