Oct. 17, 2017

Grand Street Water Quality Improvement Project

The Eastern Connecticut Conservation District and Town of East Lyme are installing twenty tree wells in the 55-acre Grand Street neighborhood to improve water quality in the Niantic River.  Storm water from the Grand Street neighborhood currently flows into storm drain pipes under the road and is discharged into the Niantic River from a storm pipe by the Grand Street boat launch.

This tree well in the Grand Street neighborhood will help improve water quality in the Niantic River and Long Island Sound.

We are concerned about NPS in the Niantic River because each time it rains, shellfish beds in the Niantic River need to be closed because of contamination by fecal bacteria and other pathogens contained in stormwater runoff. Stormwater runoff also contains nitrogen, a component of fertilizer and septic system leachate. Nitrogen feeds algae and can result in algae blooms during the summer. When the algae die, the bacteria that decompose it deplete oxygen in the river, which can harm the aquatic environment and cause fish die-offs. The installation of tree wells will help to reduce the amount of polluted runoff entering the Niantic River each time it rains, making the river a bit cleaner and working towards the goal of ending shellfish bed closures and algae blooms.

This project is being conducted by the Town of East Lyme and the Eastern Connecticut Conservation District, in partnership with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) and the Niantic River Watershed Committee. It is funded by DEEP through a US EPA Clean Water Act Section 319 Nonpoint Source program grant. The CWA Section 319 NPS program provides funds to conduct water quality improvement projects to reduce NPS in waterbodies like the Niantic River that have known water quality issues.

For more information about this project or tree wells, please contact Judy Rondeau at the Eastern Connecticut Conservation District at 860-774-9600 x13 or judy.rondeau@comcast.net.