[SOURCE]: EcoRI News

By FRANK CARINI/ecoRI News staff

MIDDLETOWN and NEWPORT, R.I. — The ponds that supply the Newport Water System and its nearly 15,000 service connections with drinking water and Aquidneck Island’s popular beaches are being stressed by stormwater runoff carrying nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen.

This runoff, polluted as a result of pet waste, geese waste, and agricultural and golf course fertilizers, ends up contaminating drinking-water supplies and beach water.

Luckily, mitigating the impacts of stormwater runoff don’t have to cost millions and take years to complete. For instance, ongoing projects of various sizes on the island have helped and are helping to lessen the impact of polluted water running off acres and acres of impervious surfaces such as roads, roofs, parking lots and even lawns.

As part of its annual business meeting, the Environment Council of Rhode Island recently hosted a tour of some of Aquidneck Island’s “green” infrastructure projects. Two Viking Tours trolleys transported 80 interested souls to seven sites — four in Middletown and three in Newport — for an up-close look at some of the work being done to address this issue — a problem not unique to the island. A popular pond in Halifax, Mass., was recently treated with aluminum sulfate to address phosphorous overloading.

Lauren Carson, a community organizer for Clean Water Action Rhode Island and a state representative from Newport, began the tour by saying that stormwater management is a water-quality issue.

“We need to work together as an island to control stormwater and protect water quality,” she said….