There is a new green infrastructure website in Connecticut, www.ReduceRunoff.org, specifically designed to assist Connecticut homeowners in reducing the harmful effects of stormwater runoff. It’s a collaborative initiative of Save the Sound, a program of Connecticut Fund for the Environment, and the University of Connecticut Center for Land Use Education and Research's (CLEAR) Nonpoint Education for Municipal Officials (NEMO) program . When it rains, or when snow melts, impervious surfaces like driveways, sidewalks, and streets prevent water from naturally soaking into the ground, creating stormwater runoff. Manmade gray infrastructure like curbs, gutters, and storm drains quickly carry stormwater runoff directly to local streams, rivers, and Long Island Sound—without any natural filtering process.
That runoff can overwhelm the sewer systems of older, combined sewer overflow communities like Bridgeport, New Haven and Hartford—resulting in releases of raw sewage. In other communities, it floods streets and carries fertilizers and pesticides into rivers and the Sound. This pollution forces summer beach closings, and make it hard for shell fishermen to earn a living. According to state data, many rivers and shoreline waters fail to meet key water quality standards because of stormwater.
What’s a concerned citizen to do? Turns out, there are a growing number of common sense solutions that can have an impact. Innovative green infrastructure concepts like rain gardens, rain barrels, downspout disconnections, permeable pavers, and green roofs, can help naturally manage stormwater, limit raw sewage discharges, reduce flooding risk and improve water quality.
The new website includes a cost calculator to estimate the cost of developing a rain garden, and site features information on three Connecticut locatities using green infrastructure to benefit the community:
- In the Quinnipiac River Watershed, small rain gardens and large bioswales will be used to boost drinking water supplies. And
- In New Haven and Bridgeport,green infrastructure will help reduce flooding, reduce non-point source pollution, and limit combined sewer overflows.
There is also information about efforts in major cities including Portland, Kansas City, Philadelphia and New York which are working to promote the use of green infrastructure. ReduceRunoff.org shares the experiences of those cities and provides guidance to Connecticut residents seeking to green their neighborhoods and contribute to reducing pollution statewide.
ReduceRunoff.org was funded by the Fairfield County Community Foundation, the Greater New Haven Green Fund, and the Quinnipiac River Groundwater Natural Resources Damages Fund administered by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (CT DEEP).