Monday, August 24, 2009

Not a Bad Summer, So Far

As of three weeks ago (8/3-5), water quality in Long Island Sound (as measured by dissolved oxygen concentrations) aren't nearly as bad as it has been in previous years. Here's the summary from the Connecticut DEP:

Bottom water dissolved oxygen concentrations fell below 4.8 mg/L at 30 stations with 11 of those stations falling below 3.5 mg/L and three stations falling below 3.0 mg/L. The lowest concentration was observed at Station A4 (1.49 mg/L). This was higher than in 2008 when the lowest concentration was 0.61 mg/L, also at Station A4. The area of bottom water affected by hypoxia (DO <3.5 mg/L) is 134.8 square miles (349.1 sq. km). The area is less than that documented in 2008 (583.5 km2). The area with DO concentrations less than 3.0 mg/L is 43.7 square miles (113.2 sq km). The average area affected by hypoxia from 1999-2008 was 223.3 sq mi (578.3 sq km).

The cool and rainy start to the summer is no doubt largely responsible. We'll see what the hotter August weather has wrought. Results from last week's survey aren't ready yet.

Hypoxia, of course, isn't the only criterion. There's also pathogens. The heavy rains have probably been brutal for local beaches and shellfish beds but I haven't seen much in the news about it.


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