By Tim Brennan, Pioneer Valley Planning Commission In the 1980s, the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission took on the formidable challenge of cleaning-up severe pollution in the Pioneer Valley’s premiere natural resource, the Connecticut River. A catalyst for action was the relatively new federal water quality standards laid out in the 1972 Clean Water Act but also a New York Times article which branded the Connecticut as the “best landscaped sewer in the country.” Advocacy led to the commonwealth committing funds to undertake a detailed assessment of the Connecticut River’s water quality problems which confirmed the source as Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs). Hundreds of CSOs were discharging millions of gallons of raw sewage into the Connecticut River during periods of precipitation or snow melt when the sewage treatment plants lacked sufficient capacity to handle it bypassing the treatment process. With a creditable action plan was in place to regain “Class B” fishable, swimmable water quality in the Connecticut, it was clear we’d need abroad coalition of partners to transition from a planning to doing if there was to be real progress implementing this ambitious clean-up agenda. Soon after came the establishment of the Connecticut River Clean-up Committee, comprised of key officials from… Read full this story
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