Your Environmental Connection

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

We will all long remember the summer of 2016 as a very hot and dry season.
With high temperatures and lack of rain, we experienced drought-like conditions in many parts of the state.  This led to low water levels at several reservoirs and requests to water customers to conserve water.  It also meant low steam flow levels in many of our rivers and streams, with real  impacts to fish and other animals.
Water, and its importance to the environment and the citizens of Connecticut, is a topic constantly on our minds at DEEP - and conditions this summer heightened that focus.   As a result, we are more committed than ever to development of a State Water Plan, which is a multi-agency effort now underway.  This Plan will ultimately help us best manage our water resources to ensure plentiful water to meet human needs as well as those of a healthy environment, now and for future generations.
I encourage you to follow the development of this Plan and take every opportunity to share your thoughts and concerns.  You'll find information you need to do this at the website for the Water Planning Council.

In This Issue



Recycling Grants for Schools and Nonprofit Organizations
The RecycleCT Foundation, a public-private partnership created to promote  recycling, is accepting grant applications from K-12 schools and nonprofits.
  • The School Grant Program, to support recycling-related programming at K-12 schools, provides awards up to $2,500, with applications due November 15, 2016.
  • The Innovation Grant Program, to support new and innovative approaches to recycling and waste reduction, will award as much as $10,000, with applications due January 20, 2017. Only tax-exempt organizations, including nonprofits and public schools, are eligible to apply.
Rebates to Reduce School Bus Emissions

The U.S. EPA has announced the availability of rebates to public school bus fleet owners across the country to help them replace or retrofit older school buses with cleaner transportation technology in order to reduce emissions and improve air quality. Rebates range from $3,000 for retrofits to as much as $25,000 per replacement bus, depending on its size.
The U.S. EPA is accepting applications from September 29 to November 1, 2016.
EPA standards for new diesel engines make them more than 90 percent cleaner than older models but many older diesel engines still in operation predate these standards. Older diesel engines emit large quantities of pollutants such as particulate matter (PM) and nitrogen oxides (NOx), which have been linked to serious health problems such as aggravated asthma and lung damage. To learn more about the school bus rebate program and applicant eligibility visit the U.S. EPA's clean diesel webpage.
Grants for Fishing Education in Hispanic Community  
DEEP is ready to award $15,000 in matching grant funds to support local efforts to build interest in recreational fishing in the Hispanic community. The funds are being made available to DEEP's Inland Fisheries Division to award to nonprofit organizations as the result of a national initiative of the George H.W. Bush Vamos A Pescar™ Education Fund and the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation. These two organizations have teamed up to make $100,000 available nationwide to support state and local efforts to educate and engage families in high-density Hispanic communities through programs, classes, and fishing activities. Please review the Grant Guidelines for full details on the opportunity and process.   Completed applications must submitted no later than October 31, 2016.
Funding for Brownfields Available

The Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) is accepting applications from municipalities and economic development agencies for funding to remediate and redevelop brownfield sites. Redevelopment of these sites can benefit communities in a variety of ways by removing blight, attracting private investment and new jobs to vacant or abandoned properties, and by remediating environmental contamination. Grant funding may be used for a range of brownfield assessment, remediation and redevelopment activities, including abatement, demolition, site investigation and assessment, and more. All projects will be rated and ranked by an inter-agency committee. Applications are due November 16, 2016 and are available at
Accepting Proposals for Recreational Trails Grants  
DEEP is now accepting proposals for Connecticut's Recreational Trails Program Grants. Pending availability of funds during 2017-2018, grants may be made to any private nonprofit organizations, municipalities, state departments and tribal governments.

Applications will be accepted through
December 15, 2016. Funds may be requested for projects including:
  • Construction of new trails (motorized and non-motorized).
  • Maintenance and restoration of existing recreational trails (motorized and non-motorized). 
  • Access to trails by persons with disabilities. 
  • Purchase and lease of trail construction and maintenance equipment.
  • Acquisition of land or easements for a trail, or for trail corridors.
  • Operation of educational programs to promote safety and environmental protection as related to recreational trails.
  • Planning and design of trails.
Shifts in Connecticut's Autumn
This article continues a series on Connecticut's changing climate

Connecticut's average annual temperature is rising due to global warming, but average autumn temperatures again demonstrate that the state's seasons are not changing uniformly. In contrast to our springs and summers, which have gotten progressively warmer since the early 1900s, our autumns have shown a more complex pattern. According to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration data for Bradley Airport, average temperatures in September, October, and November trended downward slightly between 1906 and 1970 - but have since trended upward more rapidly. 

Select image to enlarge.

Some related developments:
2016 Ozone Season Wrap Up
Select image to enlarge.
The 2016 ozone season, the period from May 1- September 30 when surface level ozone (smog) concentrations can reach levels that impact public health, ended with air quality in Connecticut exceeding the federal health based standard of 70 ppb (over an 8-hour period) on 31 days.   Connecticut averaged 16 such days from 2013-15. DEEP expected this increase because in October 2015 the U.S. EPA tightened the health-based ozone standard from 75 ppb to 70 ppb to reflect a level that protects public health with an adequate margin of safety.  
Ozone forms when air pollution from combustion sources like power plants and motor vehicles reacts in strong sunlight. Connecticut typically measures high ozone concentrations on very hot summer days, when temperatures are greater than 85°F and wind patterns transport large amounts of air pollution into our state from the metropolitan Mid-Atlantic areas and large power plants in the Ohio Valley. For a more detailed breakdown of the ozone season, please see DEEP's 2016 Ozone Update .
Mosquito Testing Update 
The CT Agricultural Experimentation Station (CAES) recently detected EEE, Eastern Equine Encephalitis, in mosquitoes in the Mount Misery area of Voluntown State Forest. Public access remains open as CAES has determined the risk is low and they will continue to monitor the area. West Nile virus (WNV) infected mosquitoes have also been identified in 20 Connecticut towns.  Residents are reminded that while enjoying the outdoors this time of year, they should remain vigilant to avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes. Recommendations are available on the Mosquito Management website.
In September, the CT Department of Health announced the state's first case of domestically acquired Zika virus. The patient had recently traveled to Florida. In Connecticut, surveillance for Zika virus began on February 15, 2016. To date, 85 patients have tested positive for the Zika virus in Connecticut, five of which were pregnant. Zika has not been detected in mosquitoes collected for testing by Connecticut's Mosquito Management Program.
Open Space Grants Available

DEEP is accepting applications through February 2, 2017 under its Open Space and Watershed Land Acquisition Grant Program , which includes its Urban Green and Community Gardens Program. This grant program provides financial assistance to municipalities and non-profit land conservation organizations to acquire land for open space that will enhance local outdoor recreation, protect unique geographical features, or conserve wildlife habitat, and to water companies to acquire land to be classified as Class I or Class II water supply. property.
October is Firewood Month  
Moving firewood long distances can spread forest pests. Firewood choices matter. Protect the places you love by preventing the spread of forest pests on firewood. Don't move firewood - instead, buy firewood where you'll burn it, buy certified heat treated firewood, or gather on site when permitted. You have the power to slow the spread of forest pests. More resources about firewood and insect pests can be found on the DEEP website and from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Hunting Update
New Laws and Regulations for 2016:
Public Act 16-27 became effective on July 1st and established the Resident Game Bird Conservation Stamp (replacing the Pheasant Stamp and all turkey permits); made changes to the Connecticut Migratory Bird Conservation Stamp ; created a three-day out-of-state bird hunting license; and set specific reduced fees for hunters and anglers under the age of 18. The Resident Game Bird Conservation Stamp is required to hunt any resident game birds in Connecticut, including pheasants, ruffed grouse, partridge, quail, AND wild turkey. The Connecticut Migratory Bird Conservation Stamp is required for anyone hunting waterfowl, rails, snipe, woodcock, and crows.

Several regulations affecting the hunting seasons also became effective on July 1st. All of these new changes are not reflected in the printed version of the 2016 Connecticut Hunting and Trapping Guide. Hunters should refer to the 2016 Connecticut Hunting and Trapping Guide on the DEEP website for updated information.
Hunting Seasons:
DEEP recently announced the opening days of fall firearms hunting seasons. Peak hunting during these seasons occurs during early morning and late afternoon, primarily during the period from mid-October through mid-December. 
  • The fall firearms turkey season opened statewide on Saturday, October 1, and continues through October 31.
  • Regular waterfowl season opened statewide on Saturday, October 8, in both the north and south hunting zones.
  • Small game hunting season opened at 7:00 a.m. on Saturday, October 15, for pheasant, quail, ruffed grouse, chukar partridge, and cottontail rabbit.
  • Statewide firearms deer hunting season begins Wednesday, November 16Read the full press release or refer to the 2016 Connecticut Hunting and Trapping Guide for specific details on the seasons.
Safety:  DEEP is reminding hunters and all outdoor users to respect the rights of others and be aware of all activities that may be occurring outdoors. Connecticut hunters have an excellent safety record, and awareness on the part of all outdoor users can help in our efforts to keep hunting safe for everyone. Visit DEEP's website for Outdoor Safety Tips during hunting season. 
CT Rail Trail Explorer Highlights State Park Rail Trails

DEEP has announced a new on-Line  trail mapping system which provides detailed trail information for users in 21 Connecticut municipalities. The innovative, online CT Rail Trail Explorer adds a high-tech option to plan outings along several of CT's rail trails. The cooperative project between the DEEP's State Parks Trails & Greenways Program and DOT's Transportation Alternatives Program provides trail condition and access information for users on foot, bike or horseback on any of the state's 88 miles of rail trails. Users can interactively plan their visit by selecting a State Park Trail logo or the interactive map.
View down Hop River Trail from intersection with Air Line Trail in Windham.  Select image to enlarge.
The Air Line, Hop River, Moosup Valley, and Larkin State Park Rail Trails are included which pass through the Towns of Andover, Bolton, Chaplin, Colchester, Columbia, Coventry, East Hampton, Hampton, Hebron, Lebanon, Manchester, Middlebury, Naugatuck, Oxford, Plainfield, Pomfret, Putnam, Southbury, Sterling, Thompson, Vernon, and Windham. For more information, contact DEEP's CT Recreational Trails & Greenways Program at 860-424-3578.
Upcoming NPS Grant Opportunity

The DEEP Nonpoint Source Pollution Management Program will soon be 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 will be to address NPS pollution impacts to waterbodies listed as impaired in the 2016 State of Connecticut Integrated Water Quality Report which will be released later this year. 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.  Please keep an eye on the DEEP NPS Pollution Management Program website for announcement of the FY2017 grant round and related details.
DEEP Releases New Aquifer Video

DEEP puts a spotlight on the importance of drinking water supply aquifers with release of a new educational video entitled, What is an Aquifer? Aquifers are one of our most precious natural resources, providing clean, safe, reliable sources of water for drinking, bathing and other household uses. Groundwater from our aquifers is used in large quantities for industry, agriculture, manufacturing, fire protection and energy production. Groundwater provides base flow to our streams, rivers, and lakes.
Approximately two-thirds of Connecticut's residents rely on groundwater for their drinking water supply, whether it be from private wells or public water supply wells.
What is an Aquifer? is a useful tool for municipal boards and commissions who seek to increase their knowledge of groundwater. The video is also available on YouTube .  More information can be found on DEEP's Aquifer Protection Area Program webpage.
Helping Communities Navigate New Stormwater Permit

Photo: UConn CLEAR
In July, following a concerted effort between
DEEP, Connecticut municipalities, and the environmental community, Connecticut's "General Permit for the Discharge of Stormwater from Small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems," known as the MS4 permit, underwent a significant expansion and enhancement. The change incorporates new towns into the program, includes most state and federal institutions, and brings with it new features and requirements involving monitoring and maintenance of town properties.
The MS4 permit requires each municipality to take steps to keep stormwater entering its storm sewer systems clean to prevent pollution to surface waters. Connecticut communities might find it challenging to navigate the various aspects of the MS4. To meet this challenge, DEEP is funding the Nonpoint Education for Municipal Officials (NEMO), part of the Center for Land Use Education and Research ( CLEAR) within UConn's College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, to develop and implement a multifaceted support program that includes outreach tools and resources, technical assistance and web tools. Questions should be directed to David Dickson or Michael Dietz at UConn or Chris Stone at DEEP.
Highly Invasive Hydrilla Found in Connecticut River
Photo: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
 In September DEEP announced that hydrilla (Hydrilla verticillata), a very highly invasive aquatic plant, has been found in the main stem of the Connecticut River in Glastonbury. DEEP staff observed several patches of hydrilla mixed in among the aquatic plants growing in the river at Glastonbury's Riverfront Park and Boathouse. This discovery follows the identification of hydrilla in a difficult to access portion of Keeney Cove in June by botanists participating in a "Bioblitz," conducted around the Two Rivers Magnet School, East Hartford.
DEEP reminds users of our aquatic resources that the best method of controlling invasive species is to prevent their spread. Boaters (including kayakers and canoeists), anglers, and other recreational users should follow Clean, Drain and Dry precautions to prevent the spread of invasive plants and animals, including hydrilla. Read the full news release for more information.
Local Open Burning Officials Need to Renew their State Certification

DEEP reminds all Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) and Open Burning Officials that their current open burning certifications will expire on January 31, 2017.  Per Connecticut General Statutes Section 22a-174(f), the CEO of each municipality is responsible for nominating all local Open Burning Officials within their municipality.  To become certified, individuals nominated by the CEO must complete and get notarized the Nomination Affidavit, complete all six of the DEEP's online Open Burning training modules and then, take, and pass an online exam.  The Commissioner of DEEP or his duly authorized representative must certify all nominated individuals before they can issue any permits within their municipality. To insure that your certification does not lapse, you can recertify at any time prior to the expiration date. If you have any questions regarding the certification process and to obtain a Nomination Affidavit, please contact the DEEP's Open Burning Program.
Select image to link to webpage with on-line map.
Two Great Energy Tools for Connecticut Communities

Here are two great ways to keep tabs of how Connecticut communities are cutting energy demand and cleaning up their energy supplies - and how the Clean Energy Communities program is helping:
  1. Sign up for the CEC quarterly newsletter. The August issue had articles on price increases in the popular Home Energy Solutions program, the mayor of Torrington signing up for a home energy audit, and the availability of free LED lightbulbs in communities across the state.
  2. Visit the CEC dashboard. An interactive map shows the status of all 169 communities at a glance and provides access to detailed info on each community's programs to enhance energy efficiency and promote renewable energy.
Wet cleaning machines at Fabricare.
DEEP Promotes Wet Cleaning

DEEP's Pollution Prevention Office is working with dry cleaners to promote switching to professional wet cleaning as the preferred alternative to the more harmful solvent perchloroethylene. "Perc" is potentially harmful to human health and the environment, especially if it is not used and handled properly. Many existing dry cleaners have contamination from releases of toxic chemicals and will eventually need to conduct remediation. The professional wet cleaning process uses water and non-toxic detergents instead of toxic chemicals and may also reduce energy and water use.
As part of this initiative, DEEP and the North East Fabricare Association co-sponsored a demonstration of wet cleaning held at Fabricare Cleaners in Norwalk; all Connecticut drycleaners were invited. Fabricare has been using wet cleaning for over 20 years and attendees were shown how they wet clean a variety of garments, including silks, woolen suits, cashmere sweaters and more. Dry cleaners can also include other green practices, like collecting and recycling plastic film or making reusable garment bags available for customers, and recycling used hangers. DEEP has compiled information to assist cleaners, including a handout on Wet Cleaning Resources, and an updated P2 for Garment Care webpage.
Connecticut Launches Recycling Enforcement Initiative

DEEP updated its Solid Waste Management Plan in July with the adoption of a Comprehensive Materials Management Strategy (CMMS). The CMMS is a road map to achieving the state's goal of 60 percent diversion of materials from disposal by 2024. To accomplish this, CMMS acknowledges that Connecticut will need to increase compliance with mandatory recycling provisions. Accordingly, DEEP has launched a Recycling Enforcement Initiative (REI) to support the goals of the CMMS.
The REI is underway with a more robust field presence to address noncompliance with Connecticut's recycling laws. The first 100 facility inspections, which included but were not limited to those performed within the multi-tenant housing, industrial/manufacturing and retail sectors, have discovered a high degree of noncompliance, approximately 75 percent. This high rate of noncompliance may be attributable to the concentration of inspections associated with the multi-tenant housing sector. The REI will continue to provide increased compliance monitoring and prompt follow-up on non-compliance with Connecticut's recycling laws. Visit DEEP's website for further information on both the CMMS and on Connecticut's recycling laws .
Lean Thinking in Government 
LeanCT and the Statewide Process Improvement Steering Committee hosted the first Lean Thinking in Connecticut State Government Conference. The event was held at Fort Trumbull State Park and was sponsored by the CT Housing and Finance Authority, Connecticut State Colleges and Universities, and UConn. The event sought to celebrate innovation, build personal capacity, provide a forum to share ideas, and give us the opportunity to further develop our professional networks. Eighty-six state employees from 25 state agencies  (including 10 individuals from neighboring states - ME, NH, VT, RI, and MD) were in attendance to learn, share, and participant in this unique professional development opportunity. (More information on DEEP's LEAN efforts)
Air Regulatory Requirements Streamlined for Small Sources

To help ease compliance burdens, DEEP recently revised Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies (RCSA) sections 22a-174-29 and 22a-174-3c to streamline certain regulatory requirements for specific low emitting sources.  As a result of these revisions , owners of small sources of air pollution: (1) avoid the time and expense of obtaining individual permits (NSR and Title V) by accepting certain limits on operations, and (2) are relieved of the burden of meeting certain air toxic emissions requirements.
PRWC Developing Watershed Plan for Pomperaug River
Select image to enlarge.
Map courtesy of PRWC and
former COGCNV.

The Pomperaug River Watershed Coalition (PRWC) is in the process of developing a watershed based plan to address nonpoint source (NPS) water quality impairment issues affecting the Pomperaug River and its tributaries. This project will update PRWC's current watershed management plan. The Pomperaug River is a tributary to the Housatonic River, and its watershed encompasses portions of eight municipalities, including: Bethlehem, Middlebury, Morris, Roxbury, Southbury, Washington, Watertown and Woodbury.

The goal of the plan is to identify sources of NPS-related bacteria impairments and develop strategies to address these sources. PRWC has engaged the services of Fuss & O'Neill to help develop the plan. Funding for the project is provided, in part, by the DEEP NPS Pollution Management Program through a U.S. EPA Clean Water Act Section 319 Nonpoint Source Grant.
Wave Data for Designing "Living Shorelines"
Instruments on deck of UConn research vessel, ready for deployment in Long Island Sound.

As sea levels rise along Connecticut's shore, the coast is increasingly vulnerable to erosion and communities need to consider ways to mitigate this risk. Living shorelines often are a good alternative to traditional seawalls and revetments. The "soft" approach of living shorelines - which incorporate nature-based features such as dunes, marsh, or vegetated slopes - can help stabilize the shoreline during daily wave action and in the face of storm impacts. When designing a living shoreline, a key factor is wave height, which affects not just water levels but wave energy.

Researchers at the Connecticut Institute for Resilience and Climate Adaptation recently completed a study on wave heights along our coast. Ideally communities would have direct measurements of waves everywhere they might want to do a living shoreline project, but this would be costly. Instead, the researchers made a model, tested it against data in some areas, and then used it to predict wave characteristics in other areas. Learn more about the project and living shorelines.
CT Interstate Fire Crew Fought Western Forest Fires

A 20-member fire crew ( 6 DEEP employees and 14 private sector firefighters ) left Connecticut on August 27 to work in both Idaho and Wyoming on the Black and Carrot Fires, respectively. The two fires totaled approximately 1,376 acres. The crew returned on September 14 and its members received excellent reviews from the U.S. Forest Service for their work.
DEEP maintains a roster of agency staff members and personnel from local fire departments who have been certified to fight forest or wildfires. Crew members must complete a rigorous training program and participate in an annual renewal course. Connecticut maintains this firefighting capability to participate in a reciprocal aid program operated by the U.S. Forest Service. ( Read about Westport Assistant Fire Chief Robert Yost's experience as a first time member of CT's Interstate Fire Crew.)
New Wildlife Highlights E-newsletter 
DEEP's Wildlife Division has launched a new mobile-friendly electronic newsletter, Wildlife Highlights, which will contain articles on general wildlife topics, wildlife watching, hunting/hunter safety, current events, and more.  Subscribe here

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.