Hammonasset Beach State Park gets new ‘finer grain’ sand from Housatonic River

An ongoing beach nourishment project takes place off the coast of Hammonasset Beach State Park's West Beach in Madison on November 6, 2017.

Arnold Gold / Hearst Connecticut Media

MADISON — About 250,000 yards of sand is being relocated from the mouth of the Housatonic River and pumped onto the western end of Hammonasset Beach State Park to supplement and “renourish” the beach.

"There was a lot of interest from the Town of Stratford, primarily, and also the Town of Milford, to have the mouth of the Housatonic River dredged to improve its accessibility, largely for recreation boating purposes,” said Brian Thompson, director of land and water resources division at the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

“That is now happening and because it was good sand we wanted to use it beneficially by placing it on the beach,” he added. “That western end of Hammonasset was getting narrow and it does erode over time...so that was a good use of the sand.”

The project, about two months in duration, is expected to be completed in December.

“It will make a larger area of beach there and a flatter beach,” said Thompson. “It’s pretty nice, finer grain sand, so it should be a better beach experience.”

Thompson said the sand was tested prior to being dredged and it is free of contaminates and safe to use on a beach.

While a project of this magnitude has not been done recently, about five years ago, 40,000 yards of sand was taken from the Clinton Harbor channel and placed on the beach, according to Thompson.

The project cost is $9.50 million, according to Joseph R. Salvatore, program manager for the Connecticut Port Authority. The funds are General Obligation Bond Funds from the state of Connecticut, funded through a prior fiscal year authorization (DOT).

“Because this is good sand,” said Thompson, “rather than just place it off shore, it makes sense to beneficially use it and use it as resource.”