By Martin Hain
Connecticut Fund for the Environment/Save the Sound
The First Annual Black Rock Harbor Water Quality Summit, organized by former Black Rock City Councilman Peter Spain, the Ash Creek Conservation Association (ACCA) and Save the Sound, was held with a packed house at the Bridgeport Regional Aquaculture School in Bridgeport, CT on February 26, 2020. The summit gathered area residents, local officials and water quality experts to discuss the current conditions and future improvements in Black Rock Harbor and Bridgeport’s progress in addressing municipal sewage overflows and stormwater mitigation.
The event started off with a presentation on preliminary Unified Water Study (UWS) water quality data and accompanying analyses by Peter Linderoth, Water Quality Program Manager for Save the Sound. The UWS is designed to assess the environmental health of Long Island Sound bays and harbors and the audience showed a clear desire to see the harbor water quality improve with locals wanting to get involved with the effort. The audience was presented the who, what, when and how of the study in addition to the results specific to Black Rock Harbor that will be packaged up in an upcoming Long Island Sound Report Card to be produced by Save the Sound.
Next up, ACCA President Gail Robinson presented Environmental Awards and Recognition to members of the UWS field team that monitors Black Rock Harbor who stepped up and delivered an exemplary season of water quality data. Awardees included Bridgeport resident Kevin Blagys, who owns KB Dive Services, as well as students and faculty from Bridgeport Regional Aquaculture School.
The event continued with a presentation by Lauren Mappa, General Manager of the Bridgeport Water Pollution Control Authority (WPCA), who manages Bridgeport’s wastewater treatment facilities on the WPCA’s Actions and Projected Outcomes. Lauren presented technical plans to upgrade the facilities and details behind their actions, which should result in a cleaner Black Rock Harbor and Long Island Sound coastal waters.
Finally, an engaging forum was held with a panel that consisted of Peter Linderoth; Roger Reynolds, Senior Legal Counsel; Long Island Soundkeeper Bill Lucey; Lauren Mappa, WPCA; and Ann Straut, Sanitary Engineer of CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (CT DEEP). The public was very engaged and asked the panel members many questions about the current status and future of Black Rock Harbor water quality and management plans. If you missed this inaugural event, you can view the entire summit at facebook.com/savethesoundct/videos/191075092200869/ ■
This article originally appeared in the Connecticut Fund for the Environment/Save the Sound’s quarterly GreenSheet/SoundBites newsletter and is reprinted with permission. Each issue of GreenSheet/SoundBites showcases local environmental victories that your support makes possible, and highlights pressing challenges your support has the power to help solve. To learn more, log onto ctenvironment.org.