Sewage spill discovered in Bridgeport’s Pequonnock River

BRIDGEPORT – Environmental groups say the Bridgeport Water Pollution Control Authority clogged a sewer pipe into the Pequonnock River after discharging discolored water with high levels of bacteria.

The Ash Creek Conservation Association The water quality team was collecting data in the tributaries feeding Bridgeport Harbor earlier this summer when they detected low levels of dissolved oxygen in part of the river. The team then found the metal pipe spilling water into the river and the area smelled like sewage, said Rick Landau, the team’s project manager.

The association alerted record sound, a New Haven-based environmental group he works with to measure water quality in the area. Save the Sound then collected samples from the river on September 1 and found high levels of enterococci bacteria, which are often used as an indicator of feces.

Enterococci levels returned from the lab, registering more than 24,000 per 100 milliliters, “which is the highest possible value,” the Ash Creek Conservation Association said in a bulletin this week.

“Anything over 104 is considered problematic, especially in dry weather,” the association said in the bulletin.

Emma DeLoughry, sound engineer associated with Save the Sound, said people should be concerned about sewage leaking into rivers because those who use them for hobbies such as fishing, swimming or boating boating can get sick.

“There’s also the concern for wildlife and what that does to the actual water quality,” she said.

She said she contacted the Bridgeport Water Pollution Control Authority on September 1 when collecting samples for the test.

The municipal water authority found the pipe was part of an abandoned sewer system and part of a wall blocking it was washed away causing sewage to leak through the pipe, said DeLoughry.

She said the authority temporarily blocked the pipe the same day she contacted them.

The Bridgeport Water Pollution Control Authority did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

DeLoughry said he learned Thursday afternoon that contractors with authority had permanently plugged the pipe.

“We don’t even know how long this pipe has been discharging raw sewage into the river,” Landau said. “It’s a huge source of pollution for the river, which then flows into Bridgeport Harbor, which empties into Long Island Sound. Obviously, we want all of our waters cleaned.

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