Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Beach Closings

I will be away for an extended period of time on a medical issue (no, not psychiatric!), but my last post ( I think) before this will be on beach closings.
It took me over 20 years to develop the current preemptive bathing closure policy and its primary purpose to protect everyone from getting sick.
In 1987, when we started realizing the issues of rain and runoff from storms, we were closing after we finished testing the the water, which was 24 hours after the problem existed, mid -1987 we began closing when it seemed that the results would indicate a problem, but we were not so clear in to the reasons why.
People went into the water any way.
Then we started getting supportive calls back to the HD, that we should have listen to you, my son or daughter got an ear infection, or was throwing up or got a strange rash or I didn't feel so well...
People listen after that for awhile.
Well, most times after one of these heavy rains, the weather is not good for going out to the beach, last weekend was an exception, Sunday after that almost 2 inch rainfall, it was absolutely beautiful and bathing was prohibited from Saturday until 1:00 Pm Sunday afternoon and I heard that people did not treat the lifeguards well when they tried to warn people about the water.
Please, this is only cause we don't want you to get sick!
We want a trip to the beach to be an enjoyable experience, not one that sends you to the doctor!
We actually post advisories when there are jelly fish or swimmer itch occurs, but close when we think things could get serious, so the idea is to listen.
In this respect we don't care about NRDC ratings, we only care about your health!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

The Patron Saint of Long Island Sound – Final installment – the quagmire

The one Issue that everyone agrees on is that the Long Island Sound is not what it used to be – the estuary which provided the beginnings for large fish populations is no more. Some of the reasons may be over fishing and I would submit that it is not just the issue of over fishing, but not replacing what we take with the seeds to recreate what we have taken. This is my radical view and that of many others who study the Sound with a view that is not based in politics.

The issues

1) The USEPA wants to bring the nutrient load into the Sound back to what it was when the Indians were here

a. I would say the Indians did not eat anywhere near the amount of fish we do and we are now the prime consumers of the fish.

2) The USEPA believes that all sewage treatment plants should have a zero nutrient contribution to the Sound and

3) The USEPA says that nitrogen is the main cause of Hypoxia in the Sound and presents its effects as a poison.

a. Nitrogen is an essential nutrient along with carbon and phosphorous and must be present to allow the re-creation of the fish that we consume.

b. Several well-known and highly respected scientists have studied the nitrogen levels in the sound and say they have not changed in the past 70 years.

c. Nutrients were suppose to equal more algae which equals to more chlorophyll, but chlorophyll measurements have been dropping the past number of years and hypoxia is still continuing???

4) The USEPA says all storm water should really be treated so that there are no additional contributions of nutrients to the Sound and that will also keep the beaches open all the time.

a. See my nitrogen argument and I would tell you I would rather have a beach closed for 24 hours after one of these heavy rains and provide nutrients to the Sound than have sterile water.

b. I still think there is a fundamental problem that is not being looked at because many of these changes occurred after sewage treatment plants were being upgraded in 1977.

c. I DO NOT advocate the release of raw sewage into the Sound, but sewage can now be treated very effectively using UV lights to kill all the pathogens in the waste we produce and there are levels of treatment to remove toxic components with out removing the nutrient value.

d. Some how we have now changed the character of the algae in the Sound and prominent scientists from the marine fisheries and UConn can attest to this.

5) The USEPA now says most of this change is unavoidable since it is due to global warming and so there is nothing that they can really do.

Then why have they wasted so much money each year since 1987 ($100,000,000 each year)

6) The USEAP says that all this is due to the East river flowing into the Sound. (They do
that a lot) They spent a lot of money($77,000,000) to develop a model which said this
and ignored a NOAA model and data that did not. (whoops!)

a. The flow of the Sound is fairly steady east to west at all tide levels.

This was clearly shown by buoy marker in 1910 (?) and again using GPS measurement in 2007.

Finally you get to meet The patron Saint of Long Island Sound:

He is often out on his boat, walking the shore and attending meetings to try to get some one to answer his many questions.