Tag Archives: Sherwood Island

Pics Of The Day #1090

Sherwood Island flags … (Photo/Molly Alger)

… and Compo Beach clouds  (Photo/Tracy Porosoff)

Sewage Leak: What Happened; What Happens Next

This press release was just issued by the Westport Fire Department:

At approximately 1:30 p.m. today, the Westport Fire Department Marine Unit was preparing for training on the river. Fire department personnel were notified by a person in the area of a reported sewage leak in the Saugatuck River. This leak was in the area of the I-95 overpass.

Engine 4 responded and found what appeared to be sewage flowing up from under the river to the surface. The Public Works Department was immediately notified, and a representative responded. This set into motion other activities aimed at minimizing the impact of the spill and erring on the side of caution.

As is standard practice, the CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection was notified. Also notified was the U.S. Coast Guard.

Additional fire department personnel responded to the scene. A joint effort was made between the Westport Fire, Police, Sewer Department, Health Department, Conservation, Selectman’s Office as well as the State Health Department and DEEP to determine a plan of action.

The Sewer Department immediately ensured that the pumps were shut down, and called in multiple vacuum trucks to manually haul the sewage across the river to the treatment plant. Under consultation with the Health Department and Selectman’s Office, it was decided that the beaches would be closed for swimming.

A public advisory was broadcast via the town’s emergency notification system, and the state was advised of the precautions that Westport was taking. The State agreed with the proactive efforts and followed suit. Westport Police and Westport Parks and Recreation notified swimmers to exit the water and remain onshore. Westport Police also made the proper notifications to ensure that no shell fishing occurred. Sherwood Island was closed to swimmers by DEEP personnel.

As of approximately 6:30 p.m. there was still a controlled leak, with additional pumping vehicles on their way. It was determined that town and Sherwood Island beaches would remain closed for swimming until testing verifies the water is safe to swim in. The Health Department advised that testing will generally be performed approximately 24 hours after the spill. Testing is currently scheduled for Monday. Aquarion Water was contacted and they advised town officials that there was no cause for concern regarding contamination of the public wells.

Westport officials identified the need to replace the aging pipe, and took measures to address the issue before it became a problem. First Selectman James Marpe said, “We identified the need to replace the current sewer pipe 3 years ago and were very close to completion. My thanks go out to the town and state departments in their prompt and appropriate response to the incident.”

A new pipe has already been run under the riverbed and pumps were in the process of being installed to handle the increased capacity. According to the Public Works director, the new pipe was scheduled to be put into service within the next 2 weeks. This process will be expedited in light of today’s events. The Sewer Department will continue to work with DEEP as well as state and local health departments to ensure that the safety and health of residents and guests remain paramount.

Pic Of The Day #367

Sherwood Island (Photo/Brant Mozingo)

Adelaide Northrop’s Maritime Life

Adelaide Northrop is a 70-something housewife.  She owns a 27-foot sloop; holds a pilot’s license; was an EMT and instructor for many years; drove vintage Grand Prix racing cars, and still skis.

That’s quite a life — and it started in Westport, where she grew up in the 1940s.

Adelaide recalls those days in a 1st-person account in the current issue of Soundings, the local boating magazine.

She spent hours with her father, she writes, “even in cold weather, rowing about the pond formed from the tidal marsh below our house in Westport, looking for driftwood to color the flames of fires on the large stone hearth at home.”

They “explored the meadows and hummocks in a heavy flat-bottomed workboat rented for 25 cents an hour from Capt. Walter Dewitt Allen” — of Clam House family fame — “who owned the shellfishing rights and much of the surrounding land.”

Adelaide “sat on the edges of his floating oyster and crab cars, listening to him discuss the fading health of the pond.”

Once,  Adelaide got stuck on a mud flat.  Her father told her to figure a way out.  She went over the boat “in hip-deep mud full of razor clams, thus lightening the boat enough to float, and push us into deeper water.”

She learned the rhythms of the tides.  One day she wanted to go through a long channel, from the Mill Pond under the access road to Sherwood Island, emerging at Burying Hill Beach a mile away.

Her father questioned whether the tide would be low enough for them to fit underneath the low bridge.  She was pretty sure it would work.

As they were swept into the channel, she wasn’t so sure.  Adelaide writes:

My attempts to seize vegetation on the banks and arrest our progress were fruitless, and I realized we were committed to my plan for better or worse.  My father’s fate was suddenly in my small hands, and I realized that my decision, however ill-taken, had the ability to alter his life.

It was a scary ride.  Debris and rushing water made passage under the bridge tight.  But they got through.

I realized, as Dad looked at me meaningfully, that this was far more good luck than good management.  He was pleased I had not panicked, but he clearly felt I had not known what I was attempting until it was too late to back out.

I knew he had shown me respect by allowing me to try, and I made up my mind always to learn all I could about risks I intended to undertake before indulging my impulse.

Those lessons stood Adelaide in good stead after World War II, when she helped her father scrape, sand and paint the bottom of a little Beetle Cat.   Once launched off Compo Beach, she was responsible for emptying the bilges before each sail (and sometimes during).

She was promoted to “struggling with the centerboard as well.”  She was allowed to take the tiller “only after I had demonstrated rudder-hanging skills and could define the terms ‘gudgeon’ and ‘pintle.'”

Adelaide’s Westport adventures ended when her father was transferred to Columbus, Ohio.  But she retained her love for sailing — and her thirst for adventure — all her life.

Adelaide writes of her lifetime on the water with clarity and insight.  Her decades at sea have made her the woman she is.

Yet none of it would have happened without the 1940s sense of exploration she felt on the Mill Pond, Saugatuck River and Long Island Sound — and the love and support of a father who let his daughter learn the power and joy of the water.

Even if she almost killed him in the process.