Protect Connecticut Families from Sewage Pollution

Tell Hartford: We deserve the right to know when sewage overflows contaminate our waterways!

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Sewage overflows often foul Connecticut's waterways with raw or partially treated sewage. Residents that fish, swim, or recreate in waters recently polluted with sewage are putting their health at risk. We deserve the right to know when our waterways have become contaminated with sewage, so our families can take precautions to avoid unnecessary exposure!

In 2012, Connecticut passed a law intended to provide CT residents with the right to know about sewage overflows in their community. Unfortunately, the law has fallen short in providing all residents in every community with convenient access to timely information on sewage overflows. Sewage spills in many parts of the state have continued unencumbered for days without offering the public any meaningful warnings that local waterways have been contaminated.

Fortunately, lawmakers in Hartford are considering a bill to update and improve Connecticut's sewage overflow reporting system. The bill requires all wastewater treatment plant operators to report sewage overflows electronically, making the information available to the public online. The bill should be further strengthened by requiring treatment operators to also notify municipal leaders about sewage overflows in their communities, so they can take actions to protect their residents.

Email Governor Malloy and House and Senate leadership today! Urge them to support legislation (HB 5130) to update and improve Connecticut's Sewage Pollution Right-to-Know law!

Background:

Wastewater infrastructure throughout Connecticut is aging and failing. It is estimated that repairing and replacing Connecticut's aging sewage infrastructure will cost $5 billion over the next 20 years. Outdated and dilapidated sewage infrastructure results in the discharge of millions of gallons of untreated sewage into local waterways throughout the state:

In 2016, more than 2,600 sewage overflows were reported in CT. Of those, 133 sewage spills were of one million gallons or more.
In 2017, there were over 150 beach closure days in CT due to sewage overflows.
In October of 2017, a power outage at a Waterbury Wastewater Treatment Plant resulted in approximately 6 million gallons of raw sewage contaminating the Naugatuck River. The incident took place over an extended holiday weekend, and downstream communities were not notified of the impending public health risk for several days.
 

When raw sewage enters our waterways, it can contain disease-causing pathogens, bacteria, human waste, organic compounds, toxic chemicals, and other contaminants. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, between 1.8 and 3.5 million Americans become ill annually from contact with recreational waters contaminated by sewage.

Connecticut Needs an Updated and Improved Sewage Right-to-Know Law:

In order to protect all residents from sewage overflows, Connecticut must act quickly to make critical improvements to the Sewage Pollution Right-to-Know law, by requiring that wastewater treatment operators:

Report sewer overflows electronically, which will make the information quickly available to the public online. Currently, many treatment operators are refusing to submit this information electronically, leaving the public in those communities in the dark about nearby overflows.
Notify municipal officials of any spill that enters local waterways, so they can take appropriate safety measures to protect their residents. Without timely notice, local governments are denied needed information to effectively protect public health.
 

Thank you for taking action. Together we make a difference!

Sincerely,

All of Us at CCE