CT Sea Grant to answer key questions about environmental contaminants

Connecticut Sea Grant based at UConn Avery Point, in partnership with the New Hampshire and North Carolina Sea Grant programs, received a federal grant of $ 850,000 to help unravel the complex problem of contaminants of concern, or CECs, in coastal environments and fresh water.

CECs are residues from products commonly used by individuals and businesses, including pharmaceuticals, personal care products, household cleaning products, industrial chemicals, and plastic microfibers. They are increasingly found in surface and groundwater, posing risks to drinking water and wildlife. However, the short and long term effects of SCCs are not yet well understood.

New contaminants of concern are increasingly found in surface and groundwater, posing risks to drinking water and wildlife. (Judy Benson / Connecticut Sea Grant)

“This award represents a unique opportunity to reflect on and collaborate with partners to help define how the talent of Sea Grant’s staff and its network of researchers can make a difference on a topic as large and complex as contaminants of concern.” emerging, ”said Sylvain De Guise. , director of Connecticut Sea Grant and principal investigator on the project.

The project will commission research to assess the state of the science around CECs to help identify the areas most in need of further study, the greatest potential risks, and possible mitigation strategies. Natural and social science approaches to addressing CECs will be invited to participate. The principles of environmental justice will be taken into account in the project, bearing in mind that underserved communities are often the most affected by CECs. It will also involve outreach to educate the public on this issue and on how individuals can take action to reduce their own contributions to CECs in the environment.

A complementary aspect of the project will create a framework for the national Sea Grant Network and taking into account what other government agencies are doing to help define a niche for Sea Grant in the treatment of SCCs. The framework would be seen as a starting point for actions that would evolve over time.

The grant was one of three announced on September 13 by the National Sea Grant office focusing on the management of freshwater systems. The New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium received a grant to examine techniques, green infrastructure and low-impact development to mitigate pollution from stormwater runoff. The third prize went to a collaboration of the Illinois-Indiana, Minnesota and Pennsylvania Sea Grant programs for a project focused on stormwater management and flood reduction in the Great Lakes region.

“These initial efforts will identify key challenges and inform strategies for the Sea Grant Network to implement regarding contaminants of concern, stormwater pollution and flood resilience,” said Jonathan Pennock, director of the National Sea Grant College program.

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