The federal, state, and local funding for construction of municipal wastewater treatment facilities in the Connecticut River Basin has led to significant improvement in water quality since the 1960s. A river basin that during the early 1970s was considered a flowing sewer is now a popular recreational area. One measure of the improvement in the fishable/swimmable quality of the river is documented by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Dramatic improvements in water quality, along with the installation of fish ladders to eliminate physical barriers to migration, have resulted in the successful return of Atlantic salmon to the Connecticut River.
Concentrations of total nitrogen and total phosphorus in the Connecticut River case study area since the CWA have followed the national trends—phosphorus and ammonia-N have decreased with associated increases in nitrate-N and total nitrogen, indicating that improved wastewater treatment has improved water quality (Garabe-dian et al., 1998). In its report Water Quality in the Connecticut, Housatonic, and Thames River Basins, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, and Vermont, 1992-1995 (Garabedian et al., 1998), the U.S. Geological Survey concluded that increasing nitrate concentrations may contribute to eutrophication in Long Island Sound.
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