Connecticut Fund for the Environment, the state’s largest environmental group, says runoff from a sewage treatment plant in Springfield, Massachusetts, could hurt Connecticut rivers and Long Island Sound. This week the organization asked the EPA to hold the plant to higher scrutiny.
Roger Reynolds, legal director with Connecticut Fund for the Environment, said the Springfield plant pumps thousands of pounds of raw sewage and nitrogen per day into the Connecticut River. Too much nitrogen depletes the water of oxygen, and that lack of oxygen can lead to mass fish die-offs.
“Springfield is certainly polluting the Connecticut River, and the nitrogen travels a long way and reaches Long Island Sound and contributes to that problem, too.”
Environmental groups blamed nitrogen pollution last year when hundreds of thousands of dead fish floated to the surface of the waters in the Sound. That die-off wasn’t linked specifically to the Springfield plant. Earlier this year, the EPA released a nitrogen management plan for the Sound.
Reynolds says Connecticut and New York have cut back the amount of nitrogen they pump into the sound, and the EPA should make sure Massachusetts does the same, even though it doesn’t border the Sound.
“It really shouldn’t matter what state a polluter is located in. What does matter is whether they’re causing pollution to our waterways.”
The Connecticut Fund for the Environment wants the EPA to reconsider the permits that allow the plant to dump sewage. They say those permits haven’t been renewed since 2001.