Your Environmental Connection

News for Connecticut's Businesses & Municipalities
May 2017
Message  from  
Commissioner Klee

Dear Friends,
These are certainly challenging times for an energy and environmental agency like DEEP.
We face the prospect of reduced funding for our work as a result of the state's budget situation and new spending priorities now being proposed for EPA and other federal agencies.
We are witnessing a real attack on important federal initiatives that have been put in place over the past several years - including everything from standards for auto emissions, to the Clean Power Plan, and Clean Water regulations.
Finally, it seems that the role of science and honest inquiry is being diminished by the federal government. 
The good news is that here in Connecticut, we remain strong advocates for a science based approach to energy and environmental policy.  This means we will continue to focus on energy efficiency, renewable energy and clean cars - as well as on 21 st century solutions to environmental issues and regulations.

In This Issue



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Connecticut towns collaborating to launch statewide sustainability initiative

Sustainable CT   is a certification program being developed to support and accelerate sustainability action in CT municipalities.  This statewide initiative will include a roadmap, resources, and recognition to help communities become more efficient, healthy, resilient, and livable. View the Sustainable CT video to see local leaders describing their vision for the program. 

Municipal leaders and residents from across the state are working together with the CT Conference of Municipalities, Councils of Governments, non-profits, businesses, and key agencies-including DEEP (Commissioner Klee sits on the Advisory Committee)-to develop the program. Sustainable CT is for towns, by towns, and all of CT's 169 communities are represented in the creation of Sustainable CT, either by municipal officials, local volunteers, or regional organizations.

The  Institute for Sustainable Energy (ISE) at Eastern Connecticut State University is coordinating the program's development. Financial support is provided by a funding collaborative composed of the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation, Hampshire Foundation, and Common Sense Fund. ISE and its financial partners are actively seeking additional sources to support the program. Sustainable CT will launch this November (2017). Stay tuned to learn how you can help your town get certified!
Want to learn more? Contact
New Resource for Municipal Sustainability

The  Connecticut Conference of Municipalities  has published a set of case studies on how the state's towns and  cities are addressing a wide range of sustainability concerns. The 38-page report was prepared by CCM's  Tas k Force on Sustainability in cooperation with the Institute for Sustainable Energy  at Eastern Connecticut State University.

Efforts in 21 Connecticut communities are highlighted, including:

·         Sustainability planning in Bridgeport
·         Energy savings performance contracting in Enfield
·         Transit-oriented development in Meriden
·         Analysis of sea level rise in Old Saybrook
·         Solar energy generation in Putnam
·         A food policy advisory committee in Hartford
·         Food waste composting in Mansfield
DEEP Commissioner Rob Klee and Sherill Baldwin, DEEP's CT WRAP Coordinator
CT DEEP, Public Officials Launch Campaign to Recycle More Plastic Bags, Wraps

Commissioner Klee kicked off the WRAP campaign recently at Price Chopper in Middletown, one of the many retail stores that accept plastic bags for recycling in storefront bins. Commissioner Klee was joined by State Senator Ted Kennedy and State Representative Mike Demicco, two of the tri-chairs of the General Assembly's Environment Committee. All spoke about the importance of increasing plastics recycling.

The WRAP campaign is an innovative public/private partnership that promotes recycling of plastic "film" beyond bags. The partnership is comprised of public officials, municipalities, recycling officials, retailers and grocers such as Price Chopper, the American Chemistry Council, Trex, which makes recycled plastic lumber products, and other recycling advocates. Clean, dry plastic bags and film placed in storefront recycling bins get recycled into products such as new grocery bags, benches, and decking.

A recent survey of Connecticut residents found that only half are aware that certain plastic items should be brought to grocery or retail stores to ensure proper recycling. Residents can learn where and what to recycle at the official WRAP Plastic Film Recycling page.

DEEP encourages more municipalities and retailers to join the CT WRAP initiative. For more information contact Sherill Baldwin.
Public and Stakeholder Input Will Be Key to Long Island Sound Blue Plan Success 

Long Island Sound is one of Connecticut's most important natural resources, providing habitat for countless plants and animals and serving as a corners
Multiple uses of Long Island Sound. 
tone of the state's economy.  It is vitally important that the various economic uses of the Sound don't adversely impact the Sound's resources, and that existing and future human uses of the Sound don't conflict with each other.  

That's why the Long Island Sound Blue Plan is underway to comprehensively inventory the Sound's resources and human uses, map the resource and use data, and identify real or potential conflicts.  This coordinated effort is led by the Connecticut DEEP with input from an Advisory Committee representing the University of Connecticut, state agencies, coastal municipalities, environmental groups, and the gas/electric transmission, commercial fishing, commercial boating, recreational fishing, marine trades, and water-based recreation sectors.

LIS Blue Plan: Get involved!

The Blue Plan is your plan, and it needs input from stakeholders and the public to be successful.  Advisory Committee meetings are open to the public. You can join the Blue Plan List Serv to receive notification of meetings, public events, web postings, and other information.  Send comments online , by  email , or to LIS Blue Plan, DEEP WPLR, Land and Water Resources Division, 79 Elm Street, Hartford, CT 06106.  For more information visit LIS Blue Plan .

Update on Volkswagen Emission Settlements

In late 2015, Volkswagen (VW) publicly admitted that the company had deliberately installed a defeat device on some of their diesel vehicles to cheat emissions tests and deceive federal and state regulators.  Per several court settlements, VW will be funding projects to

offset the excess of NOx emissions caused by their actions.  CT DEEP released a first draft of Connecticut's Proposed Mitigation Plan and received commen ts from municipalities, fleet owner s and others that are now available on CT's VW webpage .

Recently, CT's Attorney General George Jepsen announced another multi-state settlement with VW in which CT will receive almost $15 million from VW.  This is separate from the almost $55 million settlement (Appendix D) that will exclusively be used to mitigate excess NOx air pollution caused by VW's actions.  Also of note to those interested in building out EV charging infrastructure in CT:  Electrify America released VW's official National ZEV Investment Plan (Appendix C) on April 9th.  Businesses and municipalities should submit all infrastructure and educational program ideas directly through Electrify America's website.  To stay up to date on the latest VW news in CT visit CT's VW webpage and/or follow our Drive Clean CT Facebook page.

Connecticut's Electronic Waste (E-Waste) Recycling Law

On March 21st, DEEP posted a new list of Covered Electronic Recyclers ("CERs") to work with municipalities and regional authorities under the law. While DEEP did not add or delete any CERs to the list this year, the prices changed slightly with a new range of $0.35/lb to $0.365/lb. As a reminder, Connecticut's E-Waste recycling law requires that every municipality make arrangements for free, convenient and accessible drop off of eligible residentially generated E-Waste.  For more information on CT's recycling program, please visit

High Gypsy Moth Activity Expected, But Experts Remain Optimistic

Unless May and June rain showers are sufficient to activate the beneficial fungus Entomophaga maimaiga , which keeps the gypsy moth population in check, the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station's (CAES) statewide gypsy moth egg mass survey anticipated heavy presence of gypsy moth caterpillars along with significant defoliation of hardwood trees. Two consecutive dry springs allowed significant increase in gypsy moth populations, resulting in 204,167 defoliated acres in 2016 (approximately 11% of Connecticut's total forested land acres). Despite the gypsy moth emergence now occurring, the state's experts are optimistic that 2017 will not be a repeat of last year.

Gypsy moth caterpillar
Residents of southeastern and south central Connecticut are already witnessing gypsy moth egg mass hatches and can expect to see miniature caterpillars in yards, woods, and neighborhoods over the next few weeks. Caterpillars usually emerge in great numbers during outbreaks and by the end of June, a majority of trees may be stripped bare. Connecticut has experienced similar cyclical outbreaks, with the weather eventually favoring growth and effectiveness of the
Entomophaga maimaiga fungus.

Concerned tree and woodland owners with evidence of gypsy moths on their property can find more detailed information from the DEEP Forestry Division and the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station.

Funding Available for Forestry Practice Implementation on Gypsy Moth Damaged Forests

The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has announced the availability of funding for forest landowners with trees affected by severe gypsy moth damage. Although a complete forest management plan is not necessary, an inventory of the forest's damaged area, a rating of the severity, and a cutting plan for oak and other tree regeneration are required. To sign-up for this accelerated practice implementation, begin by filling out eligibility forms. Once qualified, submit the application to a local NRCS office by June 16, 2017.

Hazardous Waste Advisory Committee (HWAC)

With almost 10 years of providing free training to CT businesses and industry, DEEP's Hazardous Waste Advisory Committee ("HWAC") has achieved a major milestone this month. HWAC has, for the first time, over 500 subscribers to its HWAC listserv. If you are interested to become a subscriber, please go to DEEP's HWAC website and follow the instructions at the bottom of the page.

As a subscriber, you will receive meaningful updates on CT's hazardous and solid waste and recycling programs, including notices of upcoming free training events. The next training event will be held on June 27th from 9:30 a.m. - 12 p.m. in the Gina McCarthy Auditorium at DEEP headquarters in Hartford. This event will be a combined solid and hazardous waste event. No advanced reservations are required to participate/attend. Training certificates will be provided upon request.   

DPH Releases Annual Fish Advisory, "If I Catch It, Can I Eat It?" with Updated Guidance on Fish Caught in Housatonic River

Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) has released the 2017 edition of "If I Catch It, Can I Eat It? A Guide to Safe Eating of Fish Caught in Connecticut".  This was updated in response to new data that indicates higher levels of fish contamination with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in the Housatonic River and lake impoundments - Lillinonah, Zoar and Housatonic. These PCBs are associated with the former General Electric Company (GE) transformer manufacturing facility in Pittsfield, MA.

"The purpose of this DPH guide is to give advice on how to safely eat fish caught in Connecticut," said Brian Toal, an Epidemiologist with DPH's Environmental Health Section. "Fish are a good source of protein and omega 3 fatty acids, a nutrient thought to help protect people from heart disease and beneficial to the developing fetus. As a result, DPH recommends that the public continue to eat fish. However, certain guidelines should be followed in order to eat fish safely."

Both English and Spanish versions of the guide are available at all tackle shops, local health departments, and town clerk offices.  DEEP's " 2017 Connecticut Angler's Guide " also includes this guidance.
For more information, contact:  Sharee Rusnak at (860) 509-7740 or .

Update on Connecticut's 176A Petition to U.S. EPA: Interstate Air Pollution

Connecticut, along with eight neighboring Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states, petitioned the U.S. EPA (176A petition) in December of 2013 to require nine upwind states to reduce air pollution that impacts Connecticut.  Under the Clean Air Act, a downwind state can petition U.S. EPA to take regulatory action against upwind states that significantly contribute to poor air quality in the downwind state.  Air pollution from these states is carried on prevailing winds to Connecticut and other northeast states, negatively impacting public health and unfairly impacting local business climates by wrongly shifting the cost of pollution reduction. 

Analysis submitted with the 176A petition notes that if the state eliminated all of its "home grown" air pollution, the air quality in parts of Connecticut would still be dangerously polluted and fail to meet federal standards on many days due to the interstate transport of pollution.  In January of 2017, the U.S. EPA proposed to deny the 176A petition, and the Governor and several Commissioners from Connecticut provided testimony to U.S. EPA to reconsider and approve the 176A petition.  Documents related to the Section 176A petition can be found on DEEP's website.  

High Numbers of Ticks Expected this Year


The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES) and DEEP urge residents to be vigilant and cautious of ticks when enjoying the outdoors. The CAES Tick Testing Program had received over 450 ticks by mid-April 2017, and nearly 38% have tested positive for Lyme disease, which is about 6% higher than normal rates. Of the 2,177 ticks tested in 2016, 29% tested positive for Lyme disease.

The higher tick abundance seen so far this year appears to be related to warmer winter temperatures in Connecticut during the last two years. According to CAES, at this time of year, personal protection measures and conducting tick checks remain the most effective ways to reduce the risk of tick-borne diseases. More information is available from CAES and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Free Fishing License Days


As a result of legislation passed in 2014, DEEP can designate up to two dates per year as "Free Fishing License Days." To fish on these days, any resident or non-resident can obtain a free one-day fishing license good for both the inland and marine districts.  The scheduled 2017 dates for Free Fishing License Days are June 18 and August 12


The free license to fish for the first day will become available in late May and will be available again for the second scheduled day in mid-late July. The licenses will be available through the mobile friendly DEEP Online Sportsmen Licensing System. Please note if you obtained a fishing license in the past, your conservation ID number will be the same; search for your user profile so you do not accidentally create a duplicate account.

DEEP's Recycling Enforcement Initiative

DEEP updated the Solid Waste Management Plan in 2016 by adoption of the Comprehensive Materials Management Strategy ("CMMS"), a road map for achieving the state's goal of 60 percent diversion of materials from disposal by 2024.  A stronger program of state-led enforcement was identified to increase compliance with recycling laws. In 2016, DEEP launched a Recycling Enforcement Initiative ("REI") to improve recycling compliance rates. Recycling is the law and something everyone can do to conserve natural resources and energy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, help sustain the environment, and create new jobs in the recycling and manufacturing industries.

The REI ensures a robust field presence to assess and enforce compliance with Connecticut's recycling laws.   DEEP conducted hundreds of inspections since late 2016, finding noncompliance as high as 65% in some sectors and issuing 40 Notices of violations.   As multi-tenant housing continues to have the highest rate of noncompliance, DEEP will continue to inspect that sector and other priority locations to ensure that recycling receptacles are in place to encourage recycling and send the right signal that everyone is responsible for recycling at home, at work, and where we shop and consume items.

The REI is continuing with recycling inspections and enforcement. Further information on the CMMS, recycling and the REI can be found on the DEEP website.

Put some energy into your town's Plan of Conservation & Development

At least 18 Connecticut cities and towns are actively revising their Plans of Conservation and Development (POCDs), a process that state law requires at least once every ten years. In addition to promoting improvements in community sustainability through changes in zoning, open space acquisitions, and other traditional master planning efforts, some communities are recognizing the value of using their POCDs to focus on smarter energy management and developing locally generated clean energy. 
Exemplary POCDs such as   Mansfield's and  Groton's show how goals for energy efficiency, renewables, and energy conservation can be established and then incorporated into town policies. These efforts can include renewable energy zoning provisions (Hartford), deep carbon reduction goals (Westport), and multi-sector goals involving residents and businesses (Enfield). It takes the respectful collaboration of boards, commissions, community groups, businesses, and the public at large to build a consensus that can drive action. 
Connecticut's Office of Policy & Management tracks POCD update 
The nine regional Councils of Governments can assist their member towns to advance the practice of sustainability by upgrading POCDs and facilitating local renewable energy production. POCD revisions provide a great way for every town to be part of achieving Connecticut's goals for carbon reduction and more livable communities. 
New Facebook  Pag e Provides DEEP Water Monitoring News and Information

The DEEP Water Monitoring Program launched a new Facebook page,  CT DEEP Volunteer Water Monitoring , earlier this spring.  Each year multiple municipal conservation and inland wetlands commissions, along with other volunteer groups in Connecticut, collect and contribute water quality information to DEEP.  The new Facebook page will serve as a tool to better unite the volunteer water monitoring community throughout Connecticut, to serve as a source of training and information for new programs, to share local water quality news, and to promote CT DEEP water-related opportunities, announcements, and events. 

To learn how to establish a volunteer water monitoring program in your town contact the DEEP Volunteer Water Monitoring Coordi nator or visit the DEEP Volunteer Water Monitoring Webpage today! 

River & Stream Temperature Data Now Available Online

The DEEP Water Monitoring Program and Fisheries Division routinely collect hourly stream temperature data throughout the state to support Agency activities.  This data along with those data collected by the CT DEEP Volunteer Stream Temperature Monitoring (V-STeM) Network are now available online for viewing and download through an online Stream Temperature Database.  (Follow the instructions at the top of the database website to search for data collected in your town. Please note that this website works best in "Google Chrome".)

Stream temperature data can serve as an important piece of information when considering proposed development applications or other locally permitted activities.  Municipal commissions are encouraged to consider the thermal impacts to nearby waterbodies when reviewing applications.  Cold water streams in particular warrant special consideration, as these unique headwater resources are important habitat for fish species such as brook trout and slimy sculpin.  To learn more about the database or to be trained to collect stream temperature data in your town, contact the Volunteer Water Monitoring Coordinator

2017 Ozone Season in Connecticut


The official 2017 ozone season began on May 1st and ends September 30th.  DEEP monitors, tracks and forecasts air quality levels across Connecticut each day for fine particulate matter (PM 2.5). This effort, available at Air Quality Index (AQI), takes on greater importance during the ozone season.  Breathing ozone at elevated levels can trigger a variety of health problems including chest pain, coughing and throat irritation.  DEEP encourages everyone, but especially day care providers, summer camps and elder care/senior centers, to subscribe to the AQI forecast for information regarding ground level ozone, its health effects, what to do on a high ozone day, and most importantly, what you can do to help reduce ground level ozone in your own backyard.

New Tool for Recreation Season 

DEEP launched the new Sewage Right-to-Know Public Map July 5, 2016 to comply with Public Act No. 12-11.  The second part of the public act required DEEP to post notice of unanticipated sewage spills to the department's website.  As part of the Public Act, DEEP now accepts electronic reporting in lieu of phone calls.  The electronic system streamlines reporting for bypasses by eliminating most phone calls and provides copies of the 2-hour and 5-day reports almost instantaneously to all parties that used to be called.  DEEP continues to provide training to utilities required to report bypasses in accordance with the RCSA Section 22a-430-3.  

The map shows active sewer bypasses and combined sewer overflows within a half hour of notification and has a tab of historical bypasses and overflows as well.  The map can be used before heading out for swimming or boating to see if there is an active bypass.  For beach closures, please continue to contact the local municipality for that beach or see the State Swimming Area Water Quality Report Website.  For more information on sewer bypass and combined system overflow reporting, please contact Iliana Raffa at (860) 424-3758.

Statewide Fish Data Now Available

Connecticut DEEP and UConn CLEAR (Center for Land Use Education and Research) have collaborated on a project to make Connecticut's freshwater fish community data (historical and current) available to the public. This new statewide Fish Community Data Viewer allows users to search DEEP fish or macroinvertebrate community data visually in computer map format for inland waters by town, waterbody or fish species.

Fish and macroinvertebrate counts are available for over 2,270 sample sites across Connecticut and incorporate information collected over the past several years.   The health of both the stream and bottom sediments may be interpreted by understanding and comparing the diversity and water quality tolerances of the various fish and macroinvertebrate species' distribution.

The new viewer makes it easy to compare fish data not only among different streams in any town but also at many points along a given stream.

Swan Warning for Boaters during Nesting Season (Late March - June)

While nesting and raising young, swans will aggressively defend their territories against perceived threats, including people in small water crafts. With wingspans that can reach six feet long, swans are capable of causing serious injury and possibly tipping over small boats. For protection, stay away from nests, give swans a wide berth, and always wear a life jacket.

The Wildlife Division has developed a mute swan warning sign (PDF) that can be downloaded from the DEEP website, laminated, and installed near a swan nesting territory to caution boaters and encourage them to avoid the swans.
Volunteers Needed for Annual Turkey Brood Survey 

Connecticut residents are encouraged to keep a tally of all sightings of hen turkeys and poults (young-of-the-year) from June 1  through August 31 as part of an Annual Wild Turkey Brood Survey. Results from this survey enable the Wildlife Division to estimate the average number of turkey poults per hen statewide, assess annual fluctua tions in the turkey population, gauge reproductive success each year, and evaluate recruitment of new birds into the fall population. Those interested in participating can download a  Wild Turkey Observation Form  (PDF) to record observations during the survey time period. Instructions are on the data sheet.

This is a great way to partner with the Wildlife Division to help monitor Connecticut's wild turkey population.


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.