Letter: Many questions surround recent oil spill

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To the editor,

The oil spill by the Somers Thin Strip plant of Waterbury is the most recent event polluting the Naugatuck River. Two sewage spills into the river happened in 2017. A Quinnipiac science team has preliminary data indicating phthalin levels from plastics in the river.

Many people, especially at the grassroots, have worked hard to protect wildlife habitat like at the Gunntown Passive Park & Nature Preserve, the Naugatuck River and their environs. Needless to say, this has improved our collective health.

The Naugatuck Environmental Network (NEN) is concerned about the impact of these pollution events on wildlife. Streams not only connect our lands to the river but also connect the river to our lands. Long Meadow Brook is one of those two-way green corridors connecting the Naugatuck River and the Gunntown Passive Park & Nature Preserve.

For wildlife these are two-way water, green lifelines. Fish, freshwater invertebrates, and waterfowl, including many ducks and herons, use these waters. Raptors, including owls, eagles, and osprey find vital prey there.

Concerning the oil spill at Somers, there are many questions. How is it that thousands of gallons of oil spilled over the property and no one saw it or smelled it? How was it initially determined that only 100 gallons were spilled? Why isn’t the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) going through the many tapes from cameras on the property for timeline purposes?

All pollution events impact people. Well waters will need to be tested. Recent science has detected the bacteria that cause legionnaires disease in water vapor from our river. One has to wonder, what else do we breathe in as we walk in early morning mists?

We hear the same refrain from DEEP. Rain and dilution in the river will wash away the pollutants. No. Matter, read pollutants here, does not disappear. The oil is soaking into river and stream banks and polluting Long Island Sound.

Where is the outcry from our local public officials at these recent pollution events? Where are our state representatives on these vital issues affecting people, wildlife and our shared environment?

This cascade of pollution events and concerns is the business of all citizens. We also have to make sure we don’t end up with the bills.

Len Yanielli

Naugatuck

This was written on behalf of the Naugatuck Environmental Network. Contributors were Shagufta Zahid, Kevin Zak, Christine Yannielli, James Tully, Michael Turman and Marcia Puc.