What is a Brownfield?
A brownfield is a property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant. As a recipient of EPA Brownfields funding, MetroCOG assists our member municipalities with the identification, inventory, assessment and remediation of brownfield sites throughout the region. Benefits associated with site assessment, remediation and redevelopment include increased tax revenue and job growth, open space preservation and improvements to public health and quality of life.
MetroCOG Brownfields Brochure
Brownfield assessment begins with a determination of the environmental conditions and potential liability for contamination. This process is called the All Appropriate Inquiries (AAI) Final Rule and all EPA grantees must comply with the standards in 40 CFR Part 312. To satisfy the AAI requirement a three-phase Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) must be conducted. The goal of the Phase I ESA is to identify any Areas of Concern (AOC) through investigation of the site. AOCs are defined as the presence or likely presence of a hazardous substance or petroleum product.
If AOC’s are identified on a site, a Phase II ESA is then initiated to conduct groundwater and soil sampling and groundwater monitoring to determine the presence of hazardous materials and petroleum products. The vertical and horizontal extent of contamination spread is determined during the final Phase III Investigation and a Remedial Action Plan (RAP) is developed as a final report providing feasible options for site remediation.
EPA Region 1 Brownfields Site
MetroCOG’s Assessment Pre-Application
A Remedial Action Plan is developed following the Environmental Site Assessment process. There are several types of remedial actions available to properly cleanup a brownfield site depending on the intended residential, commercial, or industrial reuse.
Several of the more common remediation tactics include groundwater monitoring, building demolition and abatement, and soil excavation to remove all impacted soil off site and backfill with clean fill. Other remediation tactics include engineering controls which create a physical barrier to prevent further mitigation of contaminants. Examples include constructing trenches with recovery wells for groundwater migration, soil capping, and vapor release controls. Environmental Land Use Restrictions (ELUR) may be enacted on a site which exclude it from residential development or specific reuse at the property to minimize human exposure to contaminants that may not be feasible to cleanup to higher standards.
View past projects here:
Natural Hazard Mitigation Plan
Natural hazard mitigation is the effort to reduce loss of life and property by lessening the impact of natural disasters. Effective mitigation strategies occur before a disaster occurs. By analyzing current risk and developing actions to reduce it, this planning process will reduce the human and financial consequences associated with the impacts of a disaster.
MetroCOG is responsible for preparing, maintaining and updating the Multi-Jurisdictional Natural Hazard Mitigation Plan (NHMP) for the MetroCOG Region. The primary goal of the NHMP is to reduce the loss of life, personal injury and damage to property, infrastructure and natural, cultural and economic resources caused by the impacts of a natural disaster. An up to date NHMP is a requirement of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for certain types of disaster assistance.
FEMA Hazard Mitigation Plan Requirement
Hazard Identification & Risk Assessment: A description of the location, extent and probability of natural hazards that have the potential to impact the region. The risk assessment provides sufficient information to identify and prioritize appropriate mitigation actions to reduce loss.
Assess Vulnerability: A description of each hazard and its potential impact on the region. A GIS-based methodology identifies vulnerable parcels, especially those vulnerable to coastal and inland flooding and storm surge. Types and numbers of existing and future buildings, infrastructure, critical facilities and the potential economic loss is calculated. Repetitive loss properties, that is, structures insured under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and that have been repetitively damaged by floods, are also assessed.
Mitigation Strategy: Provides the blueprint for reducing losses due to impacts from a natural hazard. A range of specific mitigation actions and projects to reduce the effects of each hazard are identified. An implementation plan describes how the mitigation actions are prioritized, implemented, and administered.
Plan Maintenance Process: FEMA guidelines require the NHMP to be adopted and endorsed by the governing body of each municipality. The process describes how local governments will incorporate the mitigation strategies into other planning mechanisms, such as comprehensive or capital improvement plans.
2019 Natural Hazard Mitigation Plan
Emergency Preparedness for all Natural Hazards
The term hazard means “an event or physical condition that has the potential to cause fatalities, injuries, property damage, infrastructure damage, agriculture loss, damage to the environment, interruption of business, or other harm or loss” (Multi-Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment: A Cornerstone of the National Mitigation Strategy, FEMA, 1997). A single hazard may be caused by multiple events. For example, flooding may occur as a result of heavy rains, a hurricane/tropical storm, or a winter storm. The extent of flooding may differ depending on the event. Developing a family evacuation plan and preparing for the possibility of a natural hazard can help to ensure your family’s safety during the occurrence of multiple types of events.
- Protect yourself & other people: The person most responsible for your safety and well-being is YOU!
- Have a plan: Know where you will evacuate to, and the best way to get there. Have necessary supplies kit(s) ready to use.
Family Communications Plan
Plan de Comunicaciones Familiares
- Assemble a supplies kit for your home, work and car. Click here to learn what to pack
- Home: keep the kit in a designated place and make sure everyone in the family knows where it is. The kit should contain essential food, water, and supplies for at least three days.
- Work: Have one container that is ready to grab and go in case you are evacuated from your workplace. Make sure you have food and water, and comfortable walking shoes
- Car: The kit should contain food, water, first aid supplies, flares, jumper cables, and seasonal supplies
Lista de suministros de emergencia
- Make considerations for and customize plans for individual needs and responsibilities based on the methods of communication, types of shelter and methods of transportation available.
- Access & Functional Needs: Identify any special needs/disabilities an individual has and plan accordingly ahead of time. The following are helpful tips and suggestions:
Individuals with Disabilities or Access & Functional Needs
Printer Friendly Disabilities Special Needs (English)
Prepararse tiene sentido para las personas con discapacidades y necesidades especiales
Printer Friendly Older Americans Fact Sheet (English)
Prepararse tiene sentido para los ciudadanos estadounidenses mayores
Make a plan for your pets
Printer Friendly Pet Owners Fact Sheet (English)
La preparación de sus mascotas para emergencias tiene sentido
If an evacuation order has been issued…
- Unplug electrical equipment, such as radios and televisions, and small appliances, such as toasters and microwaves.
- Turn off gas, electricity, and water to the house.
Additional printer-friendly materials and translations in a variety of languages
Hurricanes + Tropical Storms: Hurricanes and tropical storm systems threaten Connecticut residents with the possibility of storm surges, powerful winds, and heavy rains. These elements can lead to devastating inland and coastal flooding, as well as the loss of power and structural damage to homes and businesses. Coastal communities are most at risk to inundation from a tropical event and coastal flooding. Both coastal and inland communities are at risk to inland flooding and wind damage. Further repercussions from tropical systems include substantial and widespread property damage, and loss of utility services, including electricity, water, telephone, cell service, sewage, and internet.
About Hurricanes & Tropical Storms:
Storm Surge: Storm surge, typically caused by a hurricane or tropical storm, can be the greatest threat to human life and property. This rapid and occasionally extreme rise in water can cause substantial inundation along coastal areas, especially when it coincides with the astronomical high tide. When this occurs, a storm tide of up to twenty feet or more can occur. While Long Island does buffer Connecticut from the open ocean, the geomorphology of Long Island Sound causes the basin to be particularly vulnerable to storm surge. The configuration of Long Island and the Connecticut coast causes a natural funneling influence on ocean waters as they are driven east to west into the Sound by a tropical event, amplifying surges.
Hurricane Intensity (Saffir-Simpson Scale):
- Category 1: Sustained winds of 74 to 95 mph. Has the potential to generate a storm surge four to five feet above predicted tide levels. Well-constructed frame homes may suffer damage to roofs, shingles, vinyl siding, and gutters. Large branches will break and shallowly rooted trees will likely be uprooted. Widespread damage to power lines and poles will likely cause power outages that could last from several days to a week or more. Additionally, minor to moderate coastal flooding is to be expected.
- Category 2: Sustained winds of 96 to 110 mph. A storm surge from a Category 2 Hurricane is generally six to eight feet above predicted tide levels. Well-constructed frame homes could sustain major roof and siding damage. Many shallowly rooted trees will be snapped or uprooted, posing a threat to structures, vital infrastructure and making roads impassable. Extensive power outages would be expected, with outages lasting up to a week or more. Low-lying coastal areas could flood two-to-four hours before the arrival of the storm. Damage to small craft and moored vessels should also be expected.
- Category 3: Sustained winds of 111 to 130 mph, with a storm surge generally nine to twelve feet above predicted tide levels. Well-constructed frame homes may incur severe damage, including the removal of roof decking and gable ends. A large portion of trees will be either snapped or uprooted, leading to property and infrastructure damage. Electricity and water could be unavailable for several weeks. Low-lying coastal areas could flood three to five hours before the system’s landfall. Inundation from flood waters will be extreme, causing damage to structures and property. To prevent loss of life, shoreline evacuations should be expected.
- Category 4: Sustained winds of 131 to 155 mph. A storm surge generally 13 to 18 feet above predicted tide levels is to be expected. Well-constructed frame homes will likely incur severe damage, with loss of most of the roof structure along with possible damage or loss of exterior walls. A majority of trees will either be snapped or uprooted. Almost universal power outages and impassable roads will isolate communities. Power could be unavailable for weeks or months, and hard hit areas will not be habitable for the same length of time.
- Category 5: Sustained winds in excess of 155 mph and a storm surge generally greater than 18 feet above predicted tide levels. A majority of framed homes will be destroyed, with roof failure and wall collapse. Recovery of utilities could take from several weeks to months, with many areas uninhabitable during that period. Low-lying areas closest to the shore could be inundated by rising waters three to five hours before land fall. Major damage to lower floors of all structures located less than 15 feet above sea level and within 500 yards of the shoreline is to be expected. Large scale evacuations of low lying coastal communities within five-to-ten miles of the shoreline should be enforced.
Link to DEMHS Hurricane Season Preparedness
Summer Storms + Tornadoes: Summer Storms and Tornadoes can bring torrential rains, damaging winds, dangerous lighting, and large hail. Furthermore, due to the complex nature of these storms, the affected area from an event could be very small, perhaps only a few blocks within a single town, or a system could impact multiple communities. Severe summer storms include tornadoes, downburst, lightning, high winds, heavy rain and hail. These weather systems can cause flash floods, as well as, downed trees and power lines.
The possible weather events are:
Summer Storms: To help warn residents to the arrival of potentially severe and destructive storms systems the National Weather Service utilizes a system of watches and warnings to designate the potential for damaging weather. The following definitions are pulled directly from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s webpage.
- Severe Thunderstorm Watch: Episodes of hail one inch in diameter or larger, and/or damaging winds are expected during a three-to-eight hour period. Winds for a severe thunderstorm are in excess of 58 miles per hour or 50 knots. Typical watches cover about 25,000 square miles.
- Severe Thunderstorm Warning: Episodes of hail one inch in diameter or larger, and/or damaging thunderstorm winds have developed and are occurring, or are imminent. Winds are in excess of 58 miles per hour or in excess of 50 knots. Unlike a watch, a Severe Thunderstorm Warning is generally only issued for small areas where the severe weather is likely to impact the region in the very near future.
Hail: Hail has the potential to be extremely devastating; with hail above an inch in diameter capable causing significant damage to crops, persons, and property. While correlations can be drawn between the presence of hail and a tornado hail does not mean a tornado is imminent nor does its absence mean there is no risk of a tornado.
Lightning: Lightning is an exceptionally dangerous hazard that is most commonly associated with thunderstorms. Lightning typically occurs in two different forms. Intra-cloud lightning occurs between oppositely charged particles within the thunderstorm cloud structure. Because the discharge occurs within the cloud structure, it poses little threat to human life or destruction of property. The second form of lightning is cloud-to-ground lightning. This form occurs either between negatively charged particles at the base of the cloud and positively charged particles on the ground; or positively charged particles at the top of the thunderstorm structure and negatively charged particles on the ground. Cloud-to-ground lightning can pose a great threat to both human life and property.
Downbursts: Downbursts are a severe weather occurrence that occasionally accompanies a severe thunderstorm. A downburst develops when large portions of unstable air mass begin to fall, creating a downdraft. These straight line winds can easily exceed 100mph.
Tornadoes: Tornadoes are the product of a severe thunderstorm that has progressed in such a way to produce the low level rotation needed for tornado development. On a localized basis, tornadoes are the most destructive of all atmospheric phenomena. Wind speeds of 65-85 mph are associated with the least intense tornadoes while winds over 200 mph are associated with the most intense.
Winter storms and weather range from blizzards, ice storms, heavy snow, sleet, freezing rain and extreme cold. Most deaths from winter storms result from traffic accidents on icy roads and hypothermia from prolonged exposure to cold. Damage to trees and tree limbs and the resultant downing of utility cables are a common effect of these types of events. Secondary effects include loss of power and heat.
The possible weather events that can impact the region are:
- Blizzard: The main characteristic of a blizzard is that it has conditions of sustained winds or frequent gusts of 35 mph or more. The high winds cause blowing and drifting of snow and reduction of visibility. By definition, visibility is reduced to less than one quarter mile for three or more hours. Extremely cold temperatures are often associated with blizzard conditions.
- Winter Storm: A heavy snow event results in a snow accumulation of more than six inches in twelve hours, or more than twelve inches in twenty-four hours. Unlike a blizzard, a heavy snow event does not have the high, sustained winds that can cause reduced visibility and down trees and power lines.
- Freezing Rain: Temperatures at higher levels are warm enough for rain to form but surface temperatures are below 32 degrees. The rain freezes on contact and coats objects such as trees, cars or roads, forming a glaze of ice. When a substantial amount of freezing rain occurs and at least one-quarter inch of ice accumulates, it is referred to as an “Ice Strom.” The freezing rain from an ice storm can create hazardous walking and driving conditions, and cause trees and branches to break from the weight of built-up ice. Power lines are susceptible to spanning from the weight of ice build-up.
- Nor’easter: The classic winter storm in New England is the nor’easter. Strong northeast winds are created and wind driven waves can batter the coastline, causing flooding and severe beach erosion. Coupled with a high tide, the low pressure of a nor’easter can have an effect similar to a storm surge from a hurricane. During the winter months and if the temperatures are right, heavy snow totals are possible.
- Sleet: Unlike freezing rain, sleet is formed by water droplets that freeze into ice pellets before reaching the ground. Sleet usually bounces when hitting a surface and does not stick to objects. However, it can accumulate like snow and cause a hazard to motorists. It typically falls as a mix of snow and freezing rain.
Extreme Heat: High temperatures can be dangerous for your health, especially for the elderly, young children and people who work outside. Heat kills by pushing the human body beyond its limits. In extreme heat and high humidity, evaporation is slowed and the body must work extra hard to maintain a normal temperature.
Drink plenty of water; even if you do not feel thirsty. Avoid drinks with caffeine. Persons who have epilepsy or heart, kidney, or liver disease; are on fluid-restricted diets; or have a problem with fluid retention should consult a doctor before increasing liquid intake.
Never leave children or pets alone in closed vehicles.
Go to a designated public shelter if your home loses power during periods of extreme heat. Public libraries or shopping malls will usually have air conditioning as well. Call 211 or visit https://uwc.211ct.org/hotweather/
Earthquakes: An earthquake is a sudden rapid shaking of the earth caused by the breaking and shifting of rock beneath the earth’s surface. The entire Region is susceptible to earthquakes; however, the effects may be felt differently in some areas based on the type of geology. The US Geological Survey (USGS) monitors and reports on earthquake activity. Their records indicate a lack of historical and instrumental reports of strong earthquakes in Connecticut. This suggests that the State experiences only very minor seismic activity, even when compared to other States in the northeast region.
Earthquakes can occur at any time without warning. Damage to buildings can range from minor cracking of walls and foundations to complete collapse. Earthquakes can cause disruption of utility services, landslides, flash floods, fires, avalanches, and tsunamis.
Emergency Management & Public Safety
Resilience and Sustainability
“Resilience is the capacity of a system, be it an individual, a forest, a city or an economy, to deal with change and continue to develop. It is about how humans and nature can use shocks and disturbances like a financial crisis or climate change to spur renewal and innovative thinking.”
-Source: Stockholm Resilience Centre
While the need to strengthen coastal resilience for shoreline communities is often the focus of resilience planning in Connecticut, MetroCOG is committed to building the resilience of environmental systems throughout the region, as well as improving the resilience of the regional economy and public infrastructure.
The Connecticut Institute for Resilience & Climate Adaptation (CIRCA), in coordination with state agencies, councils of governments like MetroCOG, and municipalities, has initiated Resilient Connecticut, which will provide the state with a regional and watershed focused Climate Adaptation Planning Framework piloted in the Superstorm Sandy impacted regions of New Haven and Fairfield Counties. Resilient Connecticut’s guiding principle is to establish resilient communities through smart planning that incorporates economic development framed around resilient transit-oriented development, conservation strategies, and critical infrastructure improvements.
Regional Framework for Coastal Resilience in Southern Connecticut
In partnership with the South Central Regional Council of Governments (SCRCOG) and The Nature Conservancy, MetroCOG had a role in creating a Regional Framework for Coastal Resilience in Southern Connecticut. Through this collaboration, there was an assessment and advancement of opportunities to reduce risk from large-scale storm events and increase the viability and resiliency of natural ecosystems along approximately thirty percent of Connecticut’s coastline. The focus area was ten coastal communities in New Haven County and Eastern Fairfield County, including Bridgeport, Fairfield and Stratford. The communities of Milford, West Haven, New Haven, East Haven, Branford, Guilford, and Madison, are members of SCRCOG.
Final Report (very large file)
Led by the State of Connecticut, Resilient Bridgeport consists of a resilience strategy and pilot projects focused on protecting homes, businesses and infrastructure in the South End of Bridgeport from chronic and acute flooding in order to foster long-term prosperity in the neighborhood.
Town of Stratford Coastal Community Resilience Plan
The Town of Stratford Coastal Community Resilience Plan (the Plan) provides the roadmap to make the community more resilient – economically, socially and ecologically – to coastal flooding and the effects of sea level rise.
Governor’s Climate Task Force
On September 3, 2019, Governor Ned Lamont issued Executive Order #3, re-establishing and expanding the membership and responsibilities of the Governor’s Council on Climate Change, also known as the GC3. The GC3 was originally established in 2015 by Governor Dan Malloy. In addition to continuing to address mitigation strategies to reduce greenhouse gases, the newly expanded GC3 will also consider adaptation and resilience in the face of climate change impacts.
The Council is tasked with two primary objectives and related tasks:
- Monitor and report on the state’s implementation of the greenhouse gas emissions reduction strategies set forth in the inaugural GC3’s December 2018 report Building a Low Carbon Future for Connecticut: Achieving a 45% GHG Reduction by 2030. This includes tasks such as:
- evaluating opportunities for equitably distributing the costs and benefits of implementing the recommended GHG mitigation strategies, specifically addressing any disproportionate impact on environmental communities;
- assessing and describing how GHG reduction strategies are being integrated into existing and new state agency planning efforts;
- evaluating the efficacy of existing and proposed policies and regulations aimed at reducing GHG emissions; and
- identifying new and emerging GHG mitigation strategies that maximize climate change adaptation and resiliency.
- Develop and implement adaptation strategies to assess and prepare for the impacts of climate change in areas such as infrastructure, agriculture, natural resources, and public health. This includes tasks such as:
- conducting an inventory of vulnerable assets and operations;
- revising and updating the 2011 Connecticut Climate Change Preparedness Plan; and
- reporting on the alignment of climate change adaptation strategies incorporated into state agency planning processes and documents.
Sustainable CT is a nonprofit, grassroots program administered by the Institute for Sustainable Energy at Eastern Connecticut State University. The municipally implemented program provides a menu of actions to implement sustainability measures at the local scale. Categories include local economies, natural resources, cultural ecosystems, planning, transportation, efficient energy, public services, housing, and equity. Once registered for the program, a municipality has access to free resources toward certification. 106 municipalities in Connecticut are currently registered.
SustainableCT provided additional assistance by initiating a summer internship program. The interns were placed in all nine COGs with the goal of assisting municipalities in their SusutainableCT application. Two municipalities in the MetroCOG Region; The City of Bridgeport and the Town of Easton have registered for the program. The Town of Fairfield achieved Silver certification in 2018. In 2020, the Town of Stratford received Silver certification and the Town of Trumbull received Bronze certification. The Towns of Stratford and Trumbull are actively pursuing certification in the 2020 application cycle. The expertise provided by MetroCOG’s Sustainable CT interns have been invaluable in helping the towns to enroll and participate.