Environment | Connecticut Public Radio


Flooding Causes Sewage To Overflow

Sep 8, 2011
Nancy Eve Cohen

Heavy rains today have brought some flooding in urban areas across Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut. WNPR’s Nancy Cohen reports in a few places the sewage system has been affected.

In Connecticut the ground is saturated and there’s still a lot of debris left over from Tropical Storm Irene, clogging up storm drains. That means there aren’t a lot of places for storm water to go. Dennis Greci with Connecticut’s environmental agency says in some cases flooded streets have drained into the sewage system and overflowed.

Courtesy of NASA Goddard Photo and Video

It's been a little more than a week since Tropical Storm Irene blew through Connecticut causing widespread damage and power outages. On Thursday, FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers will open across the state to respond to homeowners and businesses affected by the storm.

WNPR's Lucy Nalpathanchil spoke with Scott Divico of the State Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection. He says it's important for residents and business owners to register first with FEMA. The number is 1-800-621-3362 or www.disasterassistance.gov

Flickr Creative Commons, Rhys Asplundh

So. Bought your generator yet? During the long power outage, everybody, it seemed, became a preparedness expert, if not an out and out survivalist. But it's a mentality you might find hard to hold on to. You have to buy food you're NOT going to eat right away.

Still Recovering From Irene

Sep 2, 2011
Chion Wolf

Five days ago, Tropical Storm Irene battered Connecticut and put nearly a million utility customers in the dark.

Still, Governor Dannel Malloy says the biggest issue facing the state is “power, power, power, power.”

Homes from Bristol to East Haven have been destroyed by flooding. Outages have pushed back school openings by more than a week in some districts.

Nancy Eve Cohen

In Connecticut losing power has been a big problem post Irene. In Vermont people have had a hard time getting around. About 65 roads are closed there and dozens of bridges are out . WNPR’s Nancy Cohen took a road trip in the southern part of the state and found some people are still stuck at home.

On route 112 in Halifax a stretch of road is missing. The asphalt has caved into the North River. A guard rail  is under water.  But  despite the conditions Brianna Inman is heading northwest to Whitingham

Jeff Cohen/WNPR

Vermont Town Devastated By Irene Is Moving Forward

Aug 31, 2011
Nancy Eve Cohen

In Wilmington Vermont the town is picking up after  the devastating floods of Tropical Storm Irene.  WNPR’s Nancy Cohen reports.

Just outside of the village center the remains of an antique shop sit on the side of the road. Only the roof is left.

"It came all the way from around that corner about a quarter of a mile."

Steve Amidon and his crew from  Furlon Construction are taking the building apart.

“Oh this one’s pretty heavy! Just cleaning up the mess! That’s all we’ve been doing since the water went down.”

Malloy Tours Irene Ravaged Areas

Aug 30, 2011

Nearly half a million Connecticut residents and businesses are still without power after Hurricane Irene. Governor Dannel Malloy took a tour of storm affected parts of the state Tuesday.

Stopping at a hurricane ravaged beachfront community in Fairfield, Governor Malloy asked for patience in the face of continued outages.

"Energy is going be the big issue, and it's going to be the big issues for the next 7 days. That's a reality."

Jeff Cohen/WNPR

Lucy Nalpathanchil

Many expected Tropical Storm Irene to heavily damage Connecticut's coast, but the central part of the state also saw damage after rivers and streams flooded there. WNPR's Lucy Nalpathanchil reports from Bristol where some residents had to be evacuated from their homes.

The Forestville neighborhood saw extensive flooding, it sits right above the Pequabuck River on the east side of Bristol.

Nancy Eve Cohen

Although some people may have found Irene’s punch to be weaker than they had expected, others say it was more than enough. WNPR’s Nancy Cohen reports on evacuations on the Westfield River in western Massachusetts.

About midday, officials in Chester heard of a possible breach at a dam upstream of town That was enough to evacuate about 50 people there who lived close to the Westfield River.  Further downstream, in Huntington and in Westfield more were evacuated.

Irene Breaks Records

Aug 29, 2011

Irene hit Connecticut as a strong tropical storm Sunday with torrential rains and gusty winds that destroyed coastal homes, toppled trees and left a record 800,000 customers without power, surpassing damage from Hurricane Gloria in 1985. More than eight inches of rain fell.

The storm reached New England weaker than expected as it failed to re-intensify after making initial landfall in North Carolina as a Category 1 hurricane, but it still destroyed or damaged dozens of beachfront homes in East Haven and nearby communities and undermined sections of seawall, walkways and streets.

After Irene

Aug 29, 2011
Chion Wolf

Depending on where you live, this storm was either all hype - or a major disaster.

If you had power yesterday, and no trees came down in your backyard, you might have thought - “what’s all the fuss?”  

Governor Urges Citizens To Prepare For Irene Now

Aug 27, 2011

Governor Dannel Malloy is urging residents to prepare now for Hurricane Irene, rather than wait until it arrives. WNPR’s Nancy Cohen reports

Governor Malloy is asking citizens who are at risk of flooding and who live along the shore or close to rivers and streams to leave their homes soon.

Preparing For Irene

Aug 25, 2011
Nancy Eve Cohen

State emergency officials are actively preparing for Irene’s arrival. The hurricane is predicted to hit Connecticut late Sunday afternoon in Stamford. But the timing and location could change. WNPR’s Nancy Cohen reports.

Earthquake In Virginia Rocks Connecticut... And North

Aug 23, 2011
Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

An earthquake that originated in Virginia this afternoon shook buildings in Connecticut forcing people to evacuate. The quake measured 5.9 on the Richter scale.

Just before 2:00 PM buildings rocked sending state workers out of the Capitol, the Department of Transportation and other state office buildings. The Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection staff went to the state’s Emergency Operations Center, as a precaution.

Chion Wolf

A new study reports on the economic impact of shifting from gasoline --- to fuels with lower carbon emissions. WNPR’s Nancy Cohen reports the study focused on 11 Northeast and mid-Atlantic states

When Rain Shuts Beaches Down

Aug 19, 2011
Nancy Eve Cohen

Several days this week ,at least five beaches at state parks were closed because of high bacteria levels in the water. WNPR’s Nancy Cohen reports heavy rains can wash bacteria into lakes, streams and Long Island Sound 

When it rains water hits hard surfaces like roof tops and paved streets. It can carry animal waste, from pets or geese, that contains bacteria. It can pick up motor oil or fertilizer. Most of the time the water and waste goes right into storm drains or directly into rivers and lakes without being treated.

Photo by Expert Infantry Courtesy of Flickr CC

A group of computer students at Trinity College have created a smartphone app to improve disaster relief management.  As WNPR's Lucy Nalpathanchil reports, the project aims to help Haitians recovering from the 2010 earthquake.

Trinity is part of a collaboration between Wesleyan University and Connecticut College to create free software that benefits the common good. It's funded by the National Science Foundation.

Rebranding The "Rising Star"

Aug 17, 2011

For a decade now, Hartford has been “New England’s Rising Star.” It never really caught on, did it?

That “branding” campaign was pretty widely ridiculed from the moment it was first unveiled. Why? Because people who know the city...who know its story...don’t really believe in what that slogan says.

It IS however, a city with an amazing history...linked with innovation and risk...and its a place just struggling enough that someone with imagination, creativity and daring might make it big.

Plan Ties Protecting LI Sound To Healthy Economy

Aug 16, 2011
Nancy Eve Cohen

The group, Save the Sound, joined public officials in Bridgeport yesterday to discuss a new ten-year plan for protecting Long Island Sound. WNPR’s Nancy Cohen reports.

When some people think of Long island Sound they picture summer days from childhood on the beach. Others feel the tug of a Striped Bass on the end of their line. For Curt Johnson it’s a cool dip, at night.

Real Life Survival Guide Episode 9: Miyas Sushi

Aug 14, 2011
Gary Choronzy

Over Chef Bun Lai's creative, soulful, and sustainable cuisine - at the restaurant his mom started when there literally were no sushi restaurants in Connecticut - we gathered with three guest editors: Pam Landry, Mary Scanlon and Randye Kaye - our "fabulous female broadcasters in transition."

These are smart, funny women, and their pitches reflected their shared sensibilities, with questions ranging from preparing for your next job (Pam), to correcting your friends (Mary), to modern-day "choice paralysis" (Randye).

We hope you enjoy the show!

Competing For The Barn

Aug 9, 2011
Chion Wolf

The Coventry Regional Farmer’s Market has been named one of three finalists in a national competition for the best farmer’s market in the country. It’s competing with markets in Michigan and New Jersey. WNPR’s Nancy Cohen reports the state’s Agricultural Commissioner is urging residents to cast a vote for Coventry.

The Fracking Debate

Aug 9, 2011
Photo by Rennett Stowe (Flickr)

Natural gas is responsible for more of New England’s energy than you might expect.

More than 40 percent of power plants in our region are fueled by gas. It’s cleaner - though more expensive to burn - than coal. And with the cost of heating oil high - many homeowners have switched over.

For years, we’ve had to pipe it in from as far away as The Gulf of Mexico.

Hunting For The Invasive Water Chestnut

Aug 5, 2011
Judy Preston

The Tidewater Institute and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are surveying the lower Connecticut River for an invasive aquatic plant, called “Water Chestnut”. WNPR’s Nancy Cohen reports.

Robert Ballard Is Back At It

Aug 5, 2011
© Ocean Exploration Trust

After discovering the shipwrecked Titanic in 1985, Dr. Robert Ballard could have retired and still gone down as one of the greatest explorers ever. More than 25 years later though, he’s still at it.

His latest expedition is underway and he’s monitoring its every move from his control room in Mystic Aquarium, his computer at home, and on his iPhone everywhere else.

Connecticut Agencies Plan Ahead For Tree-Eating Insects

Aug 4, 2011
Kyle Ramirez via WikiMedia Commons

Two invasive insects that attack and kill trees have infested areas of Massachusetts and New York in recent years. Connecticut is putting a plan in place that specifies the role of different state agencies --- if these insects were to be found in Connecticut. WNPR’s Nancy Cohen reports.

Chion Wolf

A Group of Yale Undergraduates who participated in Yale's Rainforest expedition and Laboratory course have found an organism that can break down plastic, holding the promise of significantly reducing waste in the world's landfills. Their paper was published in the journal Applied and  Environmental Microbiology.

Joining us by phone is one of those students, and one of the lead authors of the paper, Jon Russell.

Where We Live: Shark Day

Aug 3, 2011
puuikibeach, creative commons

The number of shark attacks reported worldwide increased 25% in 2010.

That sounds scary!  Until you realize that the worldwide total is 79.  And despite an increase in shark sightings, the shark population is actually declining.

Today, where we live, while the Discovery Channel has their beloved Shark Week, we’re taking a small bite out of the action with our own shark day.

Weaving New Life Into The Long Island Sound

Aug 1, 2011
Nancy Eve Cohen

Save the Sound, part of Connecticut Fund for the Environment, released a two-year plan today to protect Long island Sound. Recently the group helped organize a hands-on effort to restore habitat outside of Clinton Harbor. WNPR’s Nancy Cohen reports.

About two dozen scientists and volunteers are weaving strands of a seagrass, known as Eelgrass, in and out of circles of burlap. It looks like green linguini with a rounded tip. Gwen Macdonald of Save the Sound is part of the sewing circle .