Wetlands, Stormwater & Other Environment and Public Health Issues
Some of the links below are for Members Only
For NEW state laws, year by year from 2000, go to our Legislative Summaries page.
On this page:
Wetlands & Watercourses
Stream Flow Regulations
Solid Waste; Soil Remediation
Subsurface Sewage Disposal
Well Water / Well Drilling
Renovation & Demolition Waste; Deconstruction vs. Demolition
Wildlife Management & Endangered Species
See DEP's Environmental Conditions Online - for maps and geospatial data for planning, management, education & research.
UConn CLEAR (Center for Land Use Education and Research) 2006 Statewide Riparian Buffer Analysis - released Dec. 7, 2009. Comparing development cover in 100 foot and 300 foot "buffer" corridors next to all watercourses demonstrates little development has taken place near watercourses between 1985 and 2006. In other words, the current inland wetlands and watercourses act is very effective at keeping development away from watercourses. No new authority for municipal inland wetland commissions is necessary.
Article: Riparian and Wetland Buffers for Water-Quality Protection (Stormwater, the Journal for Surface Water Quality Professionals, November-December, 2009). Examines riparian buffers' impacts on water-quality and concludes, "Well-planned developments incorporating “averaged” vegetated buffers of 50 feet or less, combined with shared BMP treatment trains, may be more protective of riparian and wetland ecosystem values than the much larger buffers required by some regional and local regulations."
UConn CLEAR - 2002 Coastal Riparian Buffer Analysis.
HBRACT Opposes Expansion of Powers of Local Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Agencies:
In 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010, the state legislature considered three proposals in various forms that would have either expanded the jurisdiction of local inland wetland and watercourses commissions or throw out decades of law regarding appeals to courts from commission decisions. All are anti-property owners, anti-business and anti-housing, and none are necessary to protect wetlands or watercourses. These bills are likely to return in 2011 since there was little change of membership on the State Legislature's Environment Committee. The Environment Committee refuses to listen to reason and common sense by overwhelmingly passing these bills out of committee. Fortunately, the legislative process doesn't end with one committee and the HBRA of CT successfully defeated these unworkable, poorly written and unnecessary bills. We urge leadership to tell the Environment Committee not to pursue this legislation.
See the HBRA's testimony to the Environment Committee on 2-23-09 (the HBA filed similar testimony each year on similar bills):
Current law already clearly states that a local wetland commission can regulate and prohibit almost any activity that is likely to adversely affect any wetland or watercourse. This is the low threshhold commissions must meet. Yet, the legislature continues to consider adopting language offered by the CT Fund for the Environment (CFE), which states that any regulated activity must show no adverse impact “on the area around wetlands or watercourses’ natural functions ….” This is an expansion of jurisdiction, pure and simple. It essentially allows commissions to assume and adverse impact from a proposal, without any evidence in the record - even in the face of evidence showing no adverse impact to wetlands. Thus, not even a minimal threshhold must be met. CFE's testimony before the Environment Committee states that its language "does not create any new regulated areas” and this is blatantly false.
Given that CT uses a definition of wetland that is the broadest in the nation (more than double the amount of land covered by wetlands as defined by the federal Clean Water Act), and current state law allows a low threshhold to impose regulations on private activity, including the prohibition of activity if there is likely to be any adverse impact to a wetland or watercourse, the expansion of local wetland commission jurisdiction by the Environment Committee is unwarranted and anti-property owner. This is environmental over-reaching at its worst. We urge the state legislature to not adopt these bills.
Case Law & Other Updates:
In Lord Family of Windsor v. Windsor IWWA, the CT Surpreme Court on Sept. 9, 2008, overturned the denial of a developer's application, confirming the law that local inland wetlands agencies must have evidence in the record of likely harm to a wetland to support a denial of an application. Inland Wetlands Decision (see companion case - Special Permits for Subdivisions Over Certain Size Not Allowed - on our land use, planning & zoning page).
River Corridor Protection proposals were not enacted in 2007, 2008 or 2009; Don't let them become law in 2010, 2011 or beyond (see above).
See our support statement for HB 7040, Clarify Simultaneous Filing of P&Z and Inland Wetlands Applications - the bill was passed by the House and Senate and signed by the Governor on June 11, 2007, and became effective Oct. 1, 2007; see Public Act 07-102 . See also, Public Act 08-38, which corrected part of PA 07-102.
2004 Inland Wetlands Legislation - Confirming AvalonBay v. Wilton limitations on local inland wetland commission authority; see also the important Senate and House floor debate transcripts. See CT Supreme Court decision in Avalon Bay v. Wilton. See the well reasoned Jan. 18, 2006, trial court decision in Toll Brothers v. Bethel Inland Wetlands Commission - interpreting Avalon Bay, River Bend Associates v. Simsbury and the 2004 legislation.
Opposition Statement on Raised Bill 445 in 2004 legislative session - prior to compromise being reached in final weeks of 2004 legislative session
Construction Stormwater General Permit: Can You Handle the Rain? - Attend one of 4 identical sessions, Oct. 22, Oct. 29, Nov. 5, Nov. 18, 2013 - different locations. Important workshop on DEEP's new SW GP open to both HBRA members and non-members. REGISTER NOW! SPACE is LIMITED.
(June 27, 2013) - HBRACT, DEEP and CT Fund for Environment settled cross intervention petitions challenging DEEP's construction stormwater general permit (SW GP). The new permit, issued July 1, 2013, is effective Oct. 1, 2013, and registrations filed during July and August 2013, and later of course, must come under the new GP. And, current registrations under the prior general permit MUST REREGISTER by February 1, 2014. See DEEP's Stormwater Management webpage. PowerPoint slides outlining the new SW GP.
Public Act 12-172, Streamlines the state's stormwater general permit process by allowing "qualified professionals" to certify permit compliance (effective June 15, 2012)
DEEP's draft proposed NEW Construction Stormwater General Permit (posted March 30, 2011). HBRACT's comments filed at 6-23-11 public hearing on the draft permit. For all official notices, comments and other public postings on the proposed permit, Click Here for DEEP's Official Site.
See the existing Construction Stormwater General Permit (issued in April 8, 2004; reissued April 9, 2009; expires Oct. 1, 2011; reissued twice again by DEEP; expires Sept. 30, 2013).
Go to DEP's web site for its Stormwater Management resources and links, including the 2002 Connecticut Guidelines for Soil Erosion and Sediment Control, and 2004 Connecticut Stormwater Quality Manual (see also Errata Sheet for 2004 Connecticut Stormwater Quality Manual).
Track the progress of CT DEEP's Stormwater General Permits and Incorporation of Low Impact Development (LID) Evaluation. The HBRACT's Stormwater Task Group participated in DEEP's public information sessions held between May 2010 and June 2011:
Presentations at CT Developers Council meeting, held Feb. 4, 2010: Murtha Cullina-Federal and State General Permit Requirements ; Steve Trinkaus Engineering-Stormwater Issues & LID (Low Impact Design) (20+ MB file).
Connecticut is a "delegated" state (i.e., the federal EPA has delegated stormwater permitting authority under the federal Clean Water Act to the state). Therefore, the CT general permit above controls construction activity. The requirements in the federal construction general permit (CGP) for stormwater serve as a model for delegated states, and certain federal rules, such as EPA's effluent limitation guidelines (ELGs) are applicable to state permits. See the main EPA site for the 2011 proposed federal stormwater general permit for construction activities; see NAHB's fact sheet on the proposal; see also EPA's policy and guidance documents on green infrastructure to control stormwater discharges. The federal general permit applies in non-delegated states (e.g., Massachusetts, New Hampshire and several other states) where EPA is the permitting authority.
Federal EPA News Release (7-21-10): 3 Mass. developers and construction firms pay heavy penalty for violations of stormwater regulations
See US EPA's website on its Proposed National Rulemaking to Strengthen the Stormwater Program (Sept. 2010); see NAHB's 9-30-10 memo on EPA's Survey .
Federal EPA's New Stormwater Rules are not friendly to either new home buyers or the environment (NAHB Dec. 8, 2009). Builder's Call EPA's 61-page Stormwater Survey a Bad Idea (NAHB Jan. 11, 2010).
(See also Miscellaneous page for tax exemptions; and see our Build Green Connecticut © page)
HBRACT opposed DEP's proposed new stream flow regulations inn 2009 and 2010 as an unnecessary overreaction to address a minor stream flow issue affecting less than 1% of the state's fisheries. These DEP regulations are not about protecting water supplies or water quality for people. They're about controlling water use by people to protect fisheries and other aquatic life - an important goal for sure, but DEP's proposal to regulate the entire state, over 5,000 miles of streams and rivers (and groundwater in its original proposal) in order to address less than 1% of impacted streams obliterates any sense of balance we need in our environmental laws.
HBRACT joined with the CT Water Works Association. municipalities, business associations and many other organizations opposing these regulations as they will raise everyone's cost of water and severely limit economic and housing development across the state. See HBACT's testimony (1-18-2010).
Background on the proposed regulations: On October 26, 2010, the legislature's Regulations Review Committee unanimously rejected DEP's proposed regulations without prejudice, requesting the agency to go back and limit the scope of the regulations. DEP then rewrote the regulations to resubmit to Regulations Review for its Dec. 21, 2010, meeting. Unfortunately, while groundwater was removed and other positive changes made, a report by the coalition opposing these regulations stated, DEP did "not go far enough in addressing the significant concerns raised by lawmakers during the meeting, including: 1) the impact on water supplies needed for public health, safety, agriculture and economic development; 2) the burden associated with compliance for agriculture and business; 3) the unfunded mandate on Connecticut's towns and cities; ... 5) the need to provide meaningful exemptions, including exemptions for agriculture, economic hardship and public water supplies needed to meet public health and safety obligations; and 6) concerns regarding the cost of implementation given the state's limited resources. In addition, committee members directed DEP to have 'additional sitdowns' with stakeholders to address these concerns." Listen to the Oct. 26, 2010, Regs Review Hearing, rejecting DEP's stream flow regulations: click here on this mp3 file (8MB). On December 21, 2010, the Regulations Review Committee again rejected the revised proposal on a 10-2 vote. Read the Legislature's OLR Report, Stream Flow Regulations and Impact on Industry (Office of Legislative Research, Oct. 25, 2010).
We hoped DEP under the new Governor's administration would rethink the balance this state needs and focuses any regulations on just those streams and rivers that are directly and adversely impacted by low water flows.
In 2011, DEEP (formerly DEP) rewrote the stream flow regulations and resubmitted them to the legislature's Regulations Review Committee. The LCO report on the rewritten regs recommended rejection again, but for much less substantive issues than the previous year. See LCO's 8 pg report with recommendations (10-25-11); see also the redlined final draft of the proposed regulations (Oct 2011). Final approval was granted by Regs Review on Nov. 29, 2011:
The following summary of the final regulations is provided by Betsy Gara, lobbyist for the CT Water Works Association (scroll up to see background on this issue):
"The legislature's Regulations Review Committee unanimously approved, with certain technical corrections, the state Department of Energy & Environmental Protection's (DEEP) proposed stream flow regulations. The approved regulations must now be filed with the Secretary of State's Office and will be effective upon publication in the CT Law Journal.
The Connecticut Water Works Association (CWWA) participated in extensive negotiations with DEEP, the state Department of Public Health, CBIA and representatives of various environmental and watershed organizations to address concerns with DEEP’s proposed stream flow regulations.
The negotiations were successful in addressing CWWA's top priorities, including (1) significant protections for water systems' safe yield; (2) greater certainty for water companies in how rivers and streams may be classified by DEEP; (3) more flexible compliance options, longer compliance periods and common sense exemptions; and (4) reduced paperwork and reporting requirements - all of which will mitigate capital costs and operating expenses associated with compliance. The regulations therefore strike a more appropriate balance between protecting the state's aquatic life and ensuring adequate public water supplies to meet the public health, safety, agricultural and economic development needs of the state.
CWWA sincerely appreciates the time that lawmakers and public officials took to understand our concerns and support our efforts to revise the regulations to protect the state’s public water supplies.
CWWA also thanks the members of the coalition [including the HBRA of CT] who voiced their concerns regarding the impact of the regulations on their industry or constituency. Your efforts helped ensure a positive outcome on this issue" Elizabeth (Betsy) Gara, Gara & Markowski, LLC.
DEP (11-6-08) New Solid Waste Management Regulations are coming. These regulations relate to the management of soil, sediment and construction aggregate materials (asphault, brick, concrete, etc.), and will, therefore, affect the requirements of the General Permit for the Beneficial Use of Contaminated Soil and Sediment, which is also currently under development. See summary of soil reuse general permit . And see summary of new solid waste management regulation changes (10-30-08 version) .
Soil and Water Contamination Issues - information on the CT DEP's Remediation Program
DPH - Almost one-third of CT's population is served by subsurface sewage disposal (septic systems). Find everything you wanted to know about septic systems at the agency's Environmental Engineering - Subsurface Sewage page. Scroll down to see the DPH Code Advisory links; the HBRACT has two representatives on the DPH Code Advisory Committee.
DPH & DEP - About 15% of the state's population is served by private drinking water wells. See the June 30, 2009 Report to the Legislature: Ensuring the Adequacy and Purity of Private Wells in Connecticut. Conn. Gen. Statutes Sec. 19a-37, governing regulation of water supply wells (as of 1-1-2013).
DEP announces a new, streamlined coastal permitting process under the Long Island Sound Program (October 2008) - effective for any new applications received on or after Nov. 3, 2008. Pre-application meetings are strongly encouraged and will help to ensure the success of your application.
Reuse Marketplace (11-28-12) - "A free regional network to find, sell, trade, or give away reusable and surplus items that would otherwise be disposed as trash. ... Businesses, institutions, governments, and organizations in the states of Connecticut, Delaware, Massachussetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont are eligible to create accounts and to post listings. Anyone is welcome to search or browse the posted items...."
See DEP's web sites for:
And, a note from DEP (11-10-10): "We plan to keep adding more recycling markets as they become known. Soon information on gypsum wallboard, ceiling tile and carpet/carpet pads will be added. If you know of recycling markets that are not listed - please let me know. Also in the works is a new page on deconstruction and demolition to help contractors working in this industry and municipalities and/or general contractors looking for deconstruction contractors. And, ...
... we have a Connecticut C&D Reuse and Recycling List Serve – NEW! This list is open to professionals and community volunteers working on C&D recycling efforts and is for discussing C&D recycling and recovery challenges and opportunities in Connecticut. CT DEP is sponsoring this discussion list to encourage cross-pollination of ideas, hear new concepts, approaches and technologies, share successes, projects and programs and overall provide each other support in an effort to increase C&D recycling and recovery in Connecticut. To join, email Sherill Baldwin." - Sherill Baldwin, Source Reduction and Recycling, Department of Environmental Protection, Hartford, CT ; 860.424.3440 phone; 860.424.4059 fax.
DEP Guidance on Renovation and Demolition Waste
DEP's Renovation/Demolition Red Flag List for Local Officials
See our lead-paint resource page for the latest on EPA's RRP rule and other news.
New Paint Law in CT: Note from DEEP (9-1-11)
DEP's Aquifer Protection Program - new regulations approved by Regulations Review Committee at State Legislature (1/27/2004)
For both builders and consumers, see "New Resource Offers Builders Unbiased, Easy Access to Mold Prevention Solutions" and go to RSMC ("Responsible Solutions to Mold Coalition").
Connecticut's Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy (DEP, 2005) - includes extensive discussion of endangered and threatened species.
Requests for Natural Diversity Data Base (NDDB) State Listed Species Reviews
Endangered, Threatened and Special Concern Species in Connecticut (DEEP's web site); Species listing by taxonomic groups; DEEP's 20 pg brochure (2010)
(See also Miscellaneous page for tax exemptions; and see our Build Green Connecticut © page)