Living on the Shore: Water Pollution

Perhaps the most prominent environmental issue associated with Long Island Sound is water quality, which isn't surprising, since we all contribute to water pollution in one way or another. According to the Long Island Sound Study, 20 percent of the man-made nitrogen loading to Long Island Sound comes from nonpoint source pollution – pollution that does not result from direct discharges from industries or sewage treatment plants.

coastal water pollution sources sketch 

Nonpoint source pollution includes ”urban“ runoff from streets, driveways, parking areas, and other impervious surfaces, as well as runoff from yards, which can contain fertilizers, pesticides, pet waste, and even human wastes from malfunctioning septic systems. Stormwater runoff everywhere in Connecticut eventually drains into the Sound, bringing with it pollutants which can be harmful to Long Island Sound.

While every ­resident of the state should take part in the effort to control non-point source pollution, waterfront residents stand literally on the front lines of this struggle. Because coastal property owners are directly adjacent to the water, it is especially important that they take measures to reduce runoff and prevent pollutants from reaching the Sound. Simple, common-sense steps such as reducing or eliminating the use of pesticides and fertilizers, minimizing impervious surfaces, and maintaining a vegetated buffer along the shore, such as a fringe of tidal wetlands, will help natural systems filter out pollutants in stormwater runoff. In addition, pollution can be prevented by keeping septic systems in good order, and by never allowing waste from pets or boats to enter into the waters of Long Island Sound.

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Content Last Updated March 6, 2020