Steel: Water’s Ripple Effect


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The saying is well-known: it only takes a committed few in the community to spark a positive change.

The same is true in the analogy to the ripple effect of water — the vital resource without which humans can live an amazingly short time before realizing its crucial significance to our lives.

United States Congressman from Connecticut’s 2nd district, which includes Salem and East Lyme, Joe Courtney (D), was represented:

“The environment is a critical issue throughout the entire 2nd district, and especially along the shoreline: we must elect leaders who deeply care about our environment, vote in favor of policies that protect our waterways, and listen to experts in science,” Rep. Courtney remarked.

“This requires a joint team effort at all three levels of Municipal, State, and Federal,” says Rep. Courtney.

This past Saturday morning, friends from the greater East Lyme and Salem communities joined one another at Crescent Beach in Niantic to not only celebrate our sound, but also to focus on the importance of our waterways.

The water around us is truly our lifeblood that makes everything else possible — from FRESH seafood and wildlife, to safe water for our children to drink.

The environment around us is critical. Recent events in and around East Haven have shown how a small mistake can lead to millions of gallons of sewage leaking into our beloved waterways.

“With everything going on around us, we thought what better time to add an element of fun,” explained co-organizer Michelle Maitland. “We want to engage our community, show where opportunities exist, and hold our current leaders responsible for deteriorating environmental actions that will last for generations,” Maitland continued.

The blue wave that is taking hold throughout the country seeks to use the soft strength of water to affect change.

“As long as we stay positive, optimistic, and come together I am confident that we will build back better,” explained Connecticut State Representative Candidate for the 37th District, Cate Steel.

“When digging into a variety of issues, it’s apparent that our leaders have taken advantage of the emphasis of the pandemic and have not provided enough resources or focus on other critical issues impacting our health and vitality,” Steel explained.

A quick glance at the recent water testing report in East Lyme highlights opportunities for improvement with some tests being done most recently over a couple years ago, as well as 2019 results showing concerningly high levels of manganese in local waterways. It was advised by the Connecticut Department of Public Health that recent mothers and children under one year of age not drink the water.

Steel has identified opportunities to harness State and Federal support to ensure our resources are protected.

The Drinking Water State Revolving Fund provides access to funding for water specific projects. Loans can be accessed at less than half of the market rate for long-term planning. This crucial financial backing would bring Steel’s mission within reach – a commitment to environmental preservation and continued improvement of essential resources.

Collaborating with existing groups that prioritize natural resources, such as the Surfrider Foundation, will be essential for protecting coastal waterways. Since its founding in Malibu, CA in the ’80’s as a clean water advocacy group, the organization has started chapters across the nation in a widespread effort to publicize water quality reports. Steel’s future partnerships with Surfrider Foundation CT and similar environmentally conscious organizations will make consistent testing of waterways feasible.

“Next time there will be many more who come, and we hope to see you there!” concluded Steel.

Irving Steel and Sydney Zoehrer
East Lyme