Tag Archives: Saugatuck River

Pic Of The Day #852

Levitt Pavilion and full moon, from the Saugatuck River (Photo/Nicole vonDohlen)

Pic Of The Day #850

Saugatuck River, this evening (Photo/Sandy Rothenberg)

Sewage Spill: Monday Update

The Westport Fire Department has just issued this press release, regarding Saturday’s sewage spill in the Saugatuck River:

The town has continued to work closely with the Department of Public Health and state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

The Westport Weston Health District took multiple samples this morning from various beaches. They were sent to the state lab for testing. This test typically takes 24 hours, as it requires culturing the bacterial samples. Westport has requested that the state lab expedite the return of the results.

The WWHD made great efforts to ensure the safety of residents. They checked for private wells in the area of, and downstream from, the spill. They were unable to find any private wells in the area, and believe the properties to be on the public water supply.

Quick action on Saturday helped prevent a more dire situation.

As stated in yesterday’s update, there has been no further evidence of an additional leak since the evening of the break. It appears that the efforts by the Department of Public Works to mitigate and eliminate the spill were successful.

It is not possible to quantify the spill due to the number of variables that contribute to the dynamic flow volume. We believe that quick action by the DPW to shut down the pumps, isolate the area by closing valves, and immediately using vacuum trucks, followed by larger trailer-mounted pumps, was a contributing factor to minimizing the spill.

We will wait for results of the water test to come back. The town will confer with the state DPH and review the results. Residents and visitors should be assured that their health and well-being is paramount. The WWHD will not clear the water for swimming until it is deemed safe by them, as well as by state health officials. Officials remain optimistic that should the tests come back with a clean bill of health, the beaches could be reopened for swimming as soon as tomorrow afternoon.

Right now, this is as close as anyone should get to the water. (Photos/Mark Alex Maidique)

The new permanent pumps were on schedule to be completed in 2 weeks. Westport DPW is working to expedite this completion. In the meantime, the temporary solution is adequate, and will remain in place until the new pumps are operational.

Town officials certainly understand the impact that closing the waters has had on residents and businesses. We felt it necessary to do everything within our power to observe an abundance of caution to protect the health and well-being of everyone in the impacted area, and are doing everything possible to ensure that the waters are restored to their normal state.

We thank the residents and businesses for their understanding and cooperation through this process.

Sewage Leak Stemmed; Beaches Still Closed

According to the Westport Fire Department, the sewage leak in the Saugatuck River was completely stopped as of 8:30 last night.

Temporary pumps will remain in place until permanent pumps are installed next month.

According to the Fire Department, town officials have been in close communication with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, and the Westport Weston Health District. 

Water quality testing will be performed tomorrow (Monday), in an effort to reopen beaches. Swimming at all Westport beaches — including Sherwood Island State Park — remains off limits today, “in an abundance of caution.”

First Selectman Jim Marpe thanked town and state departments for their prompt response.  He added, “We appreciate the cooperation of our residents and visitors not using the beaches for swimming until we receive the all-clear from the Health District and DEEP.”

The sewage leak yesterday, on the Saugatuck River.. (Photo/Michael Cammeyer)

Pics Of The Day #838

There was plenty of action this afternoon and evening in Saugatuck.

A sewage pipe break half a mile north of the treatment plant closed Westport’s beaches — and Sherwood Island State Park — as a precaution.

The break is located near the Black Duck. (Photo/Michael Cammeyer)

State Representative Jonathan Steinberg says the break is below 2 big well fields upstream, so exposure is limited.

(Photo/Dan Woog)

Town employees, Aquarion workers and others from a variety of government agencies and private companies are on the job.

(Photo/Dan Woog)

 

Pic Of The Day #835

Serene Saugatuck River scene, taken from the Parker Harding footbridge near Rye Ridge deli (Photo/Lucy Zeko)

Pic Of The Day #830

The library Riverwalk, and the Saugatuck River (Photo/Dan Woog)

A Bridge To Somewhere

The other evening, KMS Partners threw a fundraiser for Food Rescue US.

Food trucks and a band filled the site of the former Save the Children building, on Wilton Road. Next to the real estate firm’s new headquarters, it’s the future site of an architecturally intriguing 12-unit condo complex.

As I sat next to the Saugatuck River — the sun setting, and downtown beckoning just across the way — I thought, “It’s so close. Wouldn’t it be nice to walk there?”

Parker Harding Plaza, from the west bank of the Saugatuck River. (Photo/Dan Woog)

I could have used the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge, of course. But the Post Road span is not pedestrian friendly. And it deposits you at the dicey, traffic-filled intersection with Parker Harding Plaza.

Once upon a time, there was discussion of fora pedestrian-only bridge. It was part of David Waldman’s plan to develop that Save the Children site.

Working with Roger Ferris + Partners architects, he wanted to move the house — at that point, a former yarn shop — at Wilton Road/Post Road West — to the Save the Children property. That would provide room for a turning lane at one of the state’s worst intersections.

As part of the plan, Waldman offered $100,000 toward the engineering and design of a pedestrian-only pontoon bridge.

The town rejected the idea. The developer reworked certain aspects of his design. The office portion has now been built. The condos are next.

But the landing area on the Wilton Road side is still available. A bridge could still be built, providing relaxing access from another point between the river’s west bank, and downtown. It could connect to Gorham Island, or perhaps the walkway near Rye Ridge Deli.

The walkway near Rye Ridge Deli could be one end of a pedestrian bridge across the Saugatuck River.

It’s not a novel concept. The Westport Arts Center once proposed a bridge from its then-headquarters on Riverside Avenue, to the library and Levitt Pavilion on the other side.

There are great spots to eat and shop on both sides of the river. But Westporters and visitors tend to think of them as 2 separate places.

A pedestrian bridge between Wilton Road and Parker Harding would probably cost $500,000 to $1 million.

Is the idea worth pursuing? If not, what’s another way to tie the energy and attractions of the quickly growing west bank to the close-but-sometimes-seems-so-far “downtown”?

What do you think? Click “Comments” below. We want your thoughts!

Summer’s Second Strong Storm

Just 18 hours after yesterday’s tree-downing, power-outing storm, a more brutal one — with even less warning — roared through town.

At the Westport Library, the Saugatuck River is nearly obscured by wind-driven rain. (Photo/Fred Cantor)

Packing winds of about 60 miles an hour, plus hail, this one followed by a few seconds an alert from the National Weather Service.

One umbrella hit this home’s window “like a torpedo.” (Photo/Marty Jaramillo)

In its wake, over 1,500 customers were without power. Trees blocked South Compo Road, Narrow Rocks, Jennie Lane, Mayflower Parkway and the Ned Dimes Marina at Compo Beach. Tents for the downtown Sidewalk Sale were uprooted on Main Street.

Hillandale Road, near West Parish. (Photo/Robin Gusick)

Just a couple of hours earlier, the forecast was for mostly sunny skies.

Mayflower Parkway (Photo/Andrew Colabella)

As of right now — 3:50 pm — the skies over Westport are clear and bright.

The deluge did not last long — but it was intense. (Photo/Jilda Manikas)

Tonight and tomorrow’s forecast calls for sunny and clear weather too.

Beachgoers fled Compo. (Photo/Bruce McFadden)

Westport’s marine police assisted a sailboat in distress. (Photo/Bruce McFadden)

Umbrellas were tossed into the water … (Photo/Bruce McFadden)

… and all around Joey’s. (Photo/Bruce McFadden)

The storm even toppled a tough-to-move lifeguard chair. (Photo/Bruce McFadden)

Amazingly, just moments before the storm hit, this advertising plane flew over Compo Beach. Its message: “Keep calm – Call Tom Atty.” (Photo/Beverly Bailey)

Photo Challenge #233

Back in the day, the Saugatuck River lapped up against the backs of stores on the west side of Main Street. Pipes discharged raw sewage directly into the river.

And no one really thought twice about it.

Parker Harding Plaza was built in the mid-1950s. Now the river is much narrower — hemmed in by concrete on the eastern side.

Yet water is still dumped into the river — as shown in Amy Schneider’s image, aka last week’s Photo Challenge. Of course, it’s a lot cleaner today.

Brett Adams, Diane Silfen, Seth Schachter, Seth Braunstein, Jonathan McClure, Patrick Church, Joelle Malec, Fred Rubin, Brian Senatore, Amelie Babkie and Bobbi Essagof all knew that Amy’s shot was taken near the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge, close to Starbucks. It’s a fairly common sight — if you know where and when to look. (Click here for the photo.)

Today’s image is not hard to identify. It’s a glorious aerial autumn view of Staples High School, by Larry Untermeyer:

But that’s not the challenge. The question is: Where in Westport would you see this photo?

If you know, click “Comments” below.