STAMFORD, Conn. -- An estimated 25 million gallons of partially treated sewage spilled into the waters of the East Branch of Stamford Harbor after 4 inches of rain hammered the city in a powerful overnight rainstorm, city officials said.
On Thursday, Mayor David Martin instructed the city to close its beaches and shellfish beds and to closely monitor the bacteria levels in Long Island Sound.
Martin also advised people to stay out of the water and increased patrols at the city's beaches. Fishing is also banned.
A brown film and sludge was visible in the water Thursday, with fears of very high bacteria counts.
James "Jay" Fountain, a member of the city’s Water Pollution Control Authority and a District 7 member of the Board of Representatives, said the heavy rainfall made for a difficult situation at the treatment plant.
“I really don’t know what could have been done any different,” he said about trying to stop the overflow of water and sewage during the storm.
Stamford Green Party member Rolf Maurer and former candidate in various elections said he was aware of the spill but didn’t know much about the specifics.
However, he warned that Wednesday’s heavy rain, which was the tail end of a massive storm that slammed the Southern states, may be another example of global warming. He cited an growing number of storms and an increased level of ferocity in storms, such as Superstorm Sandy in October 2012.
“I imagine that we might see more situations like this, just like Sandy,” he said in general about storm-related impacts across the country and not specifically about sewage spills in Stamford.