At DEEP, we are living in very challenging times.
On one hand, we are working to assess Governor Malloy's budget proposal for the upcoming state fiscal year, which would reduce our General Fund appropriation by about $3.6 million. We need to determine exactly what that would mean for the delivery of our services and programs as we work with the Governor's office and the General Assembly on a final budget for next year.
On the other hand, we are keeping a watchful eye on developments in Washington, to see how any spending reductions or changes at EPA will impact us. We are concerned that the federal government may be headed in troubling directions when it comes to important energy and environmental issues.
All of this uncertainty does create fears for the future and can impact the work environment within DEEP.
Fortunately, the staff here consists of many, many dedicated professionals, who are trying to keep their heads down and stay focused on the important work we have before us. Connecticut is a national leader when it comes to forward looking environmental and energy policies and programs. With the support of the DEEP staff we will continue to work through these tough times and build on our reputation for leadership.
Input Requested on Proposed NOx Mitigation Plan
In late 2015, Volkswagen (VW) publicly admitted it had secretly and deliberately installed defeat device software designed to cheat emissions tests and deceive federal and state regulators. Over 500,000 VW and Audi branded 2.0-liter and 3.0-liter diesel vehicles sold to American consumers are affected.
On October 25, 2016 a partial settlement was approved that resolves consumer claims concerning the 2.0-liter diesel vehicles. Connecticut expects to receive over $50 million from this partial settlement (
) to mitigate excess NOx air pollution caused by VW's actions. In order to receive the mitigation funds, the state must develop a mitigation plan describing the potential mitigation actions, the associated administration processes and the emissions benefits. Before taking any formal action, DEEP is requesting input from the public to help inform the development of the final mitigation plan. An informal public comment period on the
proposed state mitigation plan
is available for public comment
through February 28, 2017.
For more information on how to comment and additional information on the VW Settlement, please visit
DEEP's VW Settlement webpage.
Air Bureau's EMIT General Permit Reminder
DEEP is transitioning to electronic documents for reporting purposes and is reminding all registrants under the General Permit to Limit Potential to Emit (GPLPE) that compliance reports should be submitted electronically through DEEP's EMIT system.
These reports are due by March 1st
and in order to utilize the EMIT online system, you should register and obtain a user account. Please note that reporting forms from previous years are obsolete and incompatible with the current version of the GPLPE. Please feel free to contact
in the Compliance Analysis & Coordination Unit if you need assistance or have questions.
Grant Opportunity to Address Water Pollution Issues
DEEP Nonpoint Source Pollution Management Program
is currently accepting proposals through its federally funded
Section 319 grant program
to address nonpoint source (NPS) water pollution issues. The primary focus of the grant program is to address NPS pollution impacts to waterbodies listed as impaired in the current
State of Connecticut Integrated Water Quality Report
. This matching grant program provides 60 percent of project funding, and all proposals submitted must identify a 40 percent non-federal cash or in-kind match. Funding for the grant is provided to DEEP by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency through Section 319 of the Federal Clean Water Act. Funds
can be passed on to communities, local conservation groups, and other organizations for NPS projects, plans, and statewide efforts. Proposals may be submitted by any interested public or private organization. Proposals must be received electronically by March 3, 2017. See the DEEP website for
DEEP Looking for GreenCircle Awards Nominations
Has your business, town, or organization recently made Connecticut cleaner and greener? If so, it deserves to be considered for a GreenCircle Sustainability award. The 2017 DEEP awards program will recognize CT-based individuals or entities who took a holistic approach to reducing the environmental impact and resource demands of their operations and activities during calendar year 2016.
The application deadline is March 10, 2017.
Winners will be featured in the Hartford Business Journal and CT Green Guide, and receive awards at a special recognition ceremony hosted by the Hartford Business Journal.
For more information or to apply, go to
DEEP GreenCircle Sustainability Award Program.
Connecticut Conference on Natural Resources
The 11th Annual Connecticut Conference on Natural Resources (CCNR) is a multidisciplinary conference bringing together individuals working with natural resource and environmental management in Connecticut to share research, information, and ideas. It is scheduled for March 13, 2017 at UConn Storrs.
is now open.
The conference features a mix of professional and informal forums to
promote information exchange, networking, a sense of community regarding Connecticut's natural resources, and recognize achievements of dedicated individuals and groups. The keynote speaker will be
Dr. J. Drew Lanham
of Clemson University, a talented naturalist with a passion for birds. Dr. Lanham recently published "
The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man's Love Affair with Nature
" where he articulates his connection to the land in a way that is honest, sincere, and brings inclusivity to conservation.
Sustainability Roundtable for Skilled Nursing Facilities
DEEP's Office of Pollution Prevention along with Energize CT partners UI, Eversource, and the CT Green Bank is working with skilled nursing facilities to increase energy efficiency in the more than 320 nursing facilities in CT.
Over the last two years more than 40 facilities in the state have received a free energy audit and over 20 of them have made energy
from Energize CT. Together, they are saving over $300,000 each year by simply reducing their energy usage. Apple Rehab Laurel Woods saved over $38,000 and St. Joseph's Residence reduced their trash as well as their energy bill.
Want to take part?
All nursing facilities in Connecticut are invited to attend a
Business Sustainability Roundtable meeting on
March 29, 2017 a
t the CT Hospital Association offices in Wallingford sponsored by DEEP, Energize CT, Leading Age CT and the CT Association of Health Care Facilities.
Find out how other facilities are making improvements that benefit their bottom line. You will also learn about energy benchmarking and how your nursing facility can get this valuable service free-of-charge. Attendees will receive 2 CEUs credit from ACHCA.
There is no charge for the event but
CT Valley Hospital Getting Big Energy Makeover
A comprehensive energy efficiency upgrade was launched at Connecticut Valley Hospital (CVH) in December. It's a project that will largely pay for itself through reduced energy costs and result in modernized buildings, reduced energy use, and real savings in operating and maintenance costs. The project at CVH is the first of several planned at state facilities using an Energy Savings Performance Contract (ESPC). This approach enables agencies to use future energy savings to finance upgrades to aging facilities and replace inefficient and failing equipment. With an ESPC, dollars that otherwise would be spent on wasted energy are instead used to finance improvements that conserve energy resources and reduce harmful emissions - while lowering ongoing operations and maintenance costs.
DEEP Commissioner Rob Klee talks with staff of several
state agencies in the CVH boiler room in December.
The 30-month CVH construction project has guaranteed savings of $31.9 million over the ESPC's 15-year performance period. The work will include replacement of a failing underground steam pipe, upgraded high efficiency lighting, a cogeneration plant that will convert discarded heat from electricity generation into useable energy, a solar-powered electric vehicle charging station, and many other upgrades (factsheet). The investments will continue to produce energy cost savings after the project's 15-year payback period ends. The work will be completed and guaranteed by NORESCO, a United Technologies company.
As Global Climate Warms, Connecticut Is Less Chilly
This article continues a series on Connecticut's changing climate
The global climate is warming rapidly - 2016 was the
warmest year on record
, surpassing the 2015 record, which had broken the 2014 record. Sixteen of the 17 hottest years have occurred since 2000. One consequence is that Connecticut's winters, on average, have become substantially milder in recent decades. Although the state's average temperature in the months of December through February dipped from 1905 until about 1970, the trend has sharply reversed.
The changing complexion of Connecticut's cool seasons also is reflected in the number of "heating degree-days" (HDDs), a crude measure of the need for heating our homes, schools, and businesses, primarily between October and April. The trend of annual total HDDs has dropped markedly in recent decades as the warming climate reduces the need for space heating. (The standard for the data depicted on the chart is 65°F. A day whose average temperature is 30°F yields 35 HDDs.)
Another reflection of the shift: Most of the state's record-low average monthly temperatures were set in the early decades of the 111-year period. The decades since 1970 span 42 percent of the overall period but have produced only 17 percent of the record lows. Record monthly low temperatures were about 3.5 times less likely in any year after 1970 than in any year before 1970.
|Select image to enlarge.
The charts and statistics are based on National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration surface-temperature data for Bradley Airport.
EPR Programs Successful in Connecticut
Extended Producer Responsibility ("EPR") holds manufacturers responsible for the cost of managing their products when they are discarded. A new report concludes that
Connecticut's EPR programs
successfully save taxpayers money, increase recycling and create jobs. The Product Stewardship Institute recently
released the nation's first statewide
of the environmental and economic impacts of Connecticut's four EPR laws
for paint, mattresses, mercury thermostats, and electronics. The report details how these four programs have diverted 26 million pounds of material from waste, saved Connecticut municipalities and taxpayers more than $2.6 million per year, provided additional services worth another $6.7 million, and created over 100 jobs. The report also outlines several steps to improve upon CT's EPR programs. For questions or more information, contact Tom Metzner, 860-424-3242.
Consumer Electronics Recycling Program
has achieved new milestones including diverting for recycling over 90 million pounds of unwanted electronics, creating 80 direct jobs and saving municipalities over $4 million in avoided transportation and disposal costs since 2011. More about this program can be found in the
2016 Annual Status Report.
For questions or more information, contact
Saving Municipalities Money While Solving Waste Crisis
Municipalities are saving money and reducing trash through SMART programs. SMART is a strategy for reducing disposal and associated costs while increasing recycling. Trash is the last "unmetered" utility - the cost of trash for residents is not transparent, and there is no financial incentive to do the right thing, like there is for electricity or water bills (which charge for the amount used). For municipalities, changing residential behavior to recycle right and trash less could mean millions of dollars saved.
According to an analysis performed by Waste Zero (a consultant retained by DEEP), fifteen Connecticut municipalities that they worked with would save $7.4 million per year collectively in trash disposal fees if SMART was adopted. If all CT municipalities adopted SMART programs, the net program impact could conservatively be $149 million annually, including both avoided disposal fees and additional revenue. A few communities, like Mansfield and Stonington, have SMART programs and dispose of less trash per capita than most other towns. Recently, New Britain and West Hartford began leading efforts to review how SMART would work in their communities, which will not only drastically reduce waste, but will also help them provide relief to their strained budgets.
NEMO Providing Support for Updated MS4 Regulations
Last fall, CT DEEP entered into a 5-year contract with UConn
Amanda Ryan, NEMO's new MS4 Circuit Rider
NEMO (Nonpoint Education for Municipal Officials) using SEP funding from enforcement settlements. NEMO will provide multi-faceted support to municipalities and institutions regulated under the updated MS4 General Permit. A major part of this support is assistance from a new MS4 circuit rider,
, who is
tasked with being a resource for CT towns and institutions on MS4 issues. She is available for in-person visits to facilitate meetings among key employees, provide
presentations on the MS4 requirements, and share best practices among communities.
NEMO is also providing webinar presentations and regional workshops on key MS4 topics, developing and hosting an MS4 website
to serve as a clearinghouse for permit guidance, resources, and clarification. An MS4 listserve has been established to provide an easy way for town and institution employees involved with the MS4 permit to communicate with each other, ask questions, and get advice. Finally, NEMO is also providing support for the permit mapping requirements by coordinating development of statewide high resolution impervious cover data which will be available to all towns and institutions; creating an online MS4 map viewer, and conducting mapping pilot programs institution to develop detailed mapping guidance.
Pharmaceutical Company to Pay $1 Million Fine
Sheffield Pharmaceuticals has agreed to pay a $1 million fine for discharging polluted industrial wastewater into the municipal sewage system without proper permits, which is in violation of the federal Clean Water Act. The agreement was reached by the U.S. Attorney for Connecticut, EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and the CT DEEP. The funds will be used to support environmental conservation projects in coastal Connecticut.
Sheffield manufactures a wide range of over-the-counter creams, ointments and toothpastes at its factory in New London. The violations were discovered during an unannounced inspection by DEEP in 2011. The inspectors found that the company had been operating without the required wastewaster discharge permits from approximately 1986. Sheffield has since installed a system to pretreat its wastewater before discharging into the city's sewage treatment plant, which discharges treated wastewater into the Thames River.
Reorganization of DEEP's WPLR Bureau
DEEP's Bureau of Water Protection and Land Reuse (WPLR) was recently reorganized from four divisions into three. This action was initiated in order to maintain WPLR's effectiveness, in light of recent retirements that have reduced the number of staff and limits on the Agency's ability to refill positions due to ongoing state budget challenges. The three new divisions and associated programs are:
Land and Water Resources -
comprised of Coastal Resources (Long Island Sound Study, Habitat Restoration); Land and Water Planning (Aquifer Protection, Inland Wetlands and Watercourses, Flood Management/FEMA, Coastal Planning); and Regulatory (Permits) and Enforcement (This new division establishes three geographic areas for inland and coastal land-use and integrates the various programs into these areas.)
Water Planning and Management -
Water Planning (Watershed, Water Quality, Monitoring; Water Quantity) and Infrastructure Management (Site Operations, Dam Safety, Municipal Wastewater, Flood Alert System) (This is the first time that WPLR has had a group focused specifically on water quantity planning.)
focuses on the cleanup of contaminated lands, and includes: Brownfields; Program Coordination; RCRA Corrective Action; Remediation Programs. (This division was the least changed of the three.)
Agriculture, Forestry and CT's Inland Wetlands Act
DEEP has revised a
that answers provides guidance on
Connecticut's Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Act as it relates to agriculture and forestry activities. The new brochure replaces a previous publication that was often referred to as the "cow brochure." Information is provided on what agriculture and forestry activities require a permit, minimizing impacts, other
regulatory requirements, and where to go for further assistance. Funding for the brochure revision was provided by a W
etlands Program Development Grant from the
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
and through DEEP Supplemental Environmental Project funding awarded to the Division of Forestry.
Seeking Greenway Nominations
DEEP is currently accepting nominations for official state greenway designations. The Greenways Council recognizes a greenway as an open space that not only meets the
of a greenway, but also enhances the community and is supported by local government initiatives. Designated greenways, both for recreation and resource protection, will be listed in a subsequent revision of the State Plan of Conservation and Development and may receive increased consideration for a variety of grants. There are currently 68 designated greenways in Connecticut.
The Greenways Council will evaluate all nominated greenways for consistency with
. Those selected for designation will be announced in conjunction with their National Trails Day event in June. The
May 1, 2017.
For more information please visit
DEEP's Greenways webpage
Goodwin State Forest Welcome Video Released
The Connecticut State Park Division has added to its
with the recent release of an audio visual welcome for the
Goodwin State Forest and Conservation Education Center
in Hampton, CT. The Center is the main point of public interaction at the 1,600 acre forest that was a gift of James L. Goodwin to the people of Connecticut in 1964. It is run cooperatively by CT State Parks, the CT Forest and Park Association and the Friends of Goodwin Forest who, together, provide a wide range of year round programs on forestry, wildlife and general conservation and maintain miles of hiking trails - as per the wishes of Mr. Goodwin.
The Conservation Center, Mr. Goodwin's personal home for decades, features a photo and interpretive essay of the site's 50 year history as Goodwin's proving grounds. The nature center and gardens add to Goodwin's theory that with good management skills landowners can both profit and ultimately improve the health of the forest. Today, as it has for over 40 years, the forest serves as an outdoor classroom for best management practices and is a living testimonial to the education centers' classes on woodland management and wildlife enhancement.
Connecticut National Archery in the Schools Program
DEEP's Wildlife Division recently launched a
National Archery in the Schools Program
(NASP), which is an in-school program typically taught during physical education classes. NASP is designed to teach International-style target archery skills with the help of a pre-written curriculum which meets or exceeds national physical education standards. The core content covers archery safety, equipment, technique, mental concentration, and self-improvement.
Interested teachers attend a one-day Basic Archery Instructor (BAI) training class to become certified before presenting the NASP curriculum to their students. Training is conducted by DEEP Wildlife Division staff and volunteers who are certified Basic Archery Instructor Trainers (BAITs). For additional information, contact the Connecticut NASP Coordinator at 860-424-3174 or
Robust Participation at Energy Facilities Siting Workshop
More than 125 people attended a recent DEEP workshop on siting of grid-connected renewable energy installations. The workshop in Hartford explored the balance the state must strike between cheaper, cleaner power and protection of natural resources and lands of high conservation and agricultural value (workshop agenda; presentations). The commissioners of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and Department of Agriculture welcomed five legislators and twenty panelists representing state agencies, solar development companies, and other stakeholders.
One panel surveyed the policies and mandates driving investment in grid-connected renewable energy and other clean energy facilities. Another considered the multi-faceted challenge of harmonizing the state's energy, environmental, agricultural, and land use goals. A third examined existing and emerging tools and best practices for this harmonization. DEEP has submitted related comments to the Council on Environmental Quality. It also expects to publish a white paper on the subject and is incorporating the workshop findings into the Comprehensive Energy Strategy.
New PURA E-Filing System
Later this year DEEP will debut a new web-based system for the submission and tracking of all electronic requests, complaints, and dockets with the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA). The upcoming application will replace the
current electronic system
utilized by PURA. It will also enable electronic filing and searching of documents in environmental administrative hearings under DEEP's Office of Adjudications and proceedings and determinations under the auspices of the Bureau of Energy Policy and Technology. The system will enhance the quality of service provided to customers. Highlights of the application will include:
- Intuitive filing and searching of information
- Flexibility and adaptability to changes in business requirements
- Added efficiency with processed filings, resulting in reduction of regulatory lag
- Ease of use to submit, track, and search for information
- Subscription services regarding specific entities, subject matter, or filing type.
This new approach could reduce the approval time of routine documents by up to 70% and provide a vast overall improvement to the filing process.
DEEP will conduct outreach to and training for all stakeholders well in advance of the system coming on line in order to ensure that all potential users are aware of it and familiar with how to use it. Be on the lookout for further information and announcements.
Changes to NOx Regulation on Fuel-Burning Equipment
After working closely with the regulated community through a multi-year rule development process, DEEP has recently updated the regulatory requirements controlling NOx from fuel-burning equipment such as boilers, turbines and engines. Because Connecticut does not currently meet the
federal ambient air quality standards for ozone
, the Clean Air Act requires more stringent regulatory requirements towards meeting federal standards.
two new air quality regulations
of the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies (RCSA), are effective as of December 22, 2016. Section 22a-174-22e of the RCSA applies to all fuel-burning emission units at major sources of NOx, and compliance is required in two steps beginning June 1, 2018. Alternative means to compliance are provided under certain circumstances. Section 22a-174-22f of the RCSA applies to emission units at non-major sources of NOx, and compliance is required as of May 1, 2018. Section 22a-174-22f applies to small emission units but the requirements are limited unless the emission unit emits more than a certain amount of NOx on a summer day. The previously existing NOx regulation, RCSA section
remains in effect through May 31, 2018 during the transition to the two new regulations. Questions about the new regulations may be directed to
Discover DEEP's Urban Forestry Program
Urban Forestry Program
provides opportunities for municipalities, organizations, and individuals to become engaged in effective urban forestry activities. An important goal of the program is improved care and maintenance of the urban forest, which consists of trees most closely associated with the human-developed part of the environment. These forests exists in all communities in Connecticut, from the smallest village to the most-densely populated city. The trees of the urban forest are those that people encounter most on a regular basis. They are woven into and around our built infrastructure, provide benefits directly to the communities within the state, and have a substantial impact on people's lives. Learn about
Urban Forestry Grants
Connecticut Urban Forest Council
Tree City USA
, and more.
Nothing "Fishy" About $436 Million
Fishing continues to be a valued tradition among Connecticut's families and DEEP continues to recruit new, reactivate lapsed, and retain active anglers. The state is fortunate to have a tremendous diversity of fisheries resources, freshwater, marine, or both within five to 10 miles of everyone. Fishing is big business as sportsmen and women pump billions of dollars yearly into the nation's economy, including millions in Connecticut.
The National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation has collected information since 1955 on the number of anglers, hunters, and wildlife watchers and their expenditures every five years. During 2011 in Connecticut,
342,000 people fished an average of 14 days and spent a total of $436 million, equating to $1,259 per angler.
These expenditures lead to dollars spent in local economies on food, equipment, gasoline, and lodging. They also translate into state tax dollars and federal excise tax dollars from the purchase of fishing equipment. Trip-related expenditures (food, lodging, transportation, equipment rentals, etc.) totaled $259 million; equipment expenditures (fishing equipment, tents, fishing clothing, boats, etc.) equaled $163 million; and $15 million was spent on special equipment such as magazines, membership dues, licenses, permits, etc. (More details in the
National Survey Report
Wildlife Recreation Also Provides Boost to CT Economy
Connecticut's diverse habitats and wide variety of wildlife species provide the perfect opportunity for residents (and non-residents) to enjoy a range of wildlife recreational activities. Those activities contribute to our state's economy in a big way. During 2011 in Connecticut, 50,000 hunters (aged 16 and older) were in the field an average of one million days and spent approximately $302 million while enjoying their sport. Add to that the 1.2 million wildlife watchers (observers, photographers, park visitors, etc.) who spent approximately $935 million while enjoying wildlife recreational activities in our state. Similar to fishing, these expenditures lead to dollars spent in local economies on hunting equipment, wildlife viewing accessories, food, gasoline, and lodging. They also translate into state tax dollars and federal excise tax dollars from the purchase of hunting equipment.
Nationwide, 13.7 million hunters and 71.8 million wildlife watchers contributed a total of $88.6 billion to the nation's economy in 2011 for equipment, services, travel, lodging, and more.
National Survey Report
published by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service provides more interesting details collected during this national survey.
|Watching for wildlife at Barn Island.
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.