Stormwater Runoff Polluting Rivers in Northwest Connecticut

CLF petitions state agency to regulate polluters

The Naugatuck River. Photo: Staib, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

December 9, 2021 (NEW HAVEN, CT) – Stormwater runoff from commercial and industrial properties is polluting several rivers in Northwest Connecticut with bacteria and chemicals, putting people and wildlife at risk. Today, Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) filed a petition with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) to clean up the pollution in the Naugatuck River, Mad River, and Still River in Litchfield County.

“Stormwater runoff does more damage to waters in Connecticut than any other source of pollution,” said CLF attorney Shannon Laun. “It’s time for state officials to step up and impose limits on major sources of harmful runoff. Wildlife deserve the opportunity to thrive, and communities should be able to enjoy safe and clean water.”

During rain or snowmelt, water from urban streets, parking lots, and construction sites carries oil, grease, sediment, bacteria, phosphorus, and other pollutants into lakes and rivers. Waterbodies throughout Connecticut are failing to meet the state’s water quality standards because of stormwater runoff. And the effects of climate change, including warmer weather, heavier rainfall, and more frequent and intense storms, are making the stormwater problem significantly worse.

CLF’s petition requests that Connecticut DEEP investigate the sources of stormwater runoff near these rivers and require permits for large properties that contribute to the pollution.

CLF experts are available for further comment.