Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Miner Brook Water Quality Improvements in Progress

From Jane Brawerman, Executive Director, Connecticut River Coastal Conservation District, Inc.

Installation of a separator to protect Miner Brook
Miner Brook, part of Middletown’s network of “blueways”, meanders through the western part of town and empties into the Mattabesset River downstream of the Westlake condos. Unfortunately, Miner Brook is on Connecticut’s list of water bodies not meeting water quality standards due to high bacteria levels, and also has problems with excessive sediment.

The brook was the subject of a study conducted several years ago by the Connecticut River Coastal Conservation District (the District), which involved walking the length of the stream to track down possible sources of water quality problems, and recommending management measures to address those sources. We are excited to say that we are now reaping the fruits of this effort, and are collaborating with the City Public Works Department to install water quality improvements as addons to the scheduled replacement and upgrade of the Miner Brook culvert under Westlake Drive.

Stormwater outfalls in the area of the Miner Brook culvert crossing at Westlake Drive were identified as priorities for improvements by the District after completing the study. The add-ons will help protect and restore the quality of Miner Brook and prevent downstream impacts to the Mattabesset River by capturing sediment before it gets to the stream. Sediment (e.g. road sand) is a major pollutant that gets carried into streams with rainfall and snowmelt, and it can also transport attached bacteria along with it.

Water quality improvements will address sediment accumulation in two areas. The first of the components, a small hydrodynamic separator that screens, separates and traps sediment, debris, oil and grease, was installed on June 4, 2013 just upstream and east of the bridge. Additional components will be installed to address sediment accumulation at an outfall further upstream as the project progresses. When the culvert work is completed, native shrubs will be planted along the stream to stabilize the bank and enhance wildlife habitat.

This project is funded in part by the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection through a US Environmental Protection Agency Clean Water Act Section 319 Grant awarded to the District. The Connecticut River Coastal Conservation District Inc., a nonprofit organization based in Middletown, works to conserve the natural resources of towns in the lower Connecticut River watershed and coastal areas.

For more information about District technical and educational programs and services, visit our website.

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