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New Milford mayor warns swimming in Housatonic River is dangerous

WFSB Hartford logo WFSB Hartford 7/4/2022 Erin Edwards, Evan Sobol
New Milford mayor warns about swimming safety © Provided by WFSB Hartford New Milford mayor warns about swimming safety

NEW MILFORD, CT (WFSB) - Whether it’s pools, lakes or rivers, it’s a busy weekend on the water.

It’s important to know where it’s safe to swim, and what bodies of water you should stay away from.

It’s a beautiful day on the Housatonic River, but New Milford’s mayor is warning residents that these waters can be dangerous and you cannot swim in the Housatonic.

“It was great we had great weather. Low winds,” said Paul Bucciaglia of New Milford.

Paul and Luca Bucciaglia have been out canoeing out on the Housatonic River several times so far this summer.

“We just live across the river so we come up. Dump in whenever we can,” Paul said.

They’re not the only ones.

“Lots of people hanging out in the river yesterday,” said Barbara Andrews of New Milford.

“It’s beautiful to look at. You can canoe. You can go ahead and paddle board,” said New Milford Mayor Pete Bass.

Bass said it’s been a busy year on the river.

He has a message to residents and visitors.

“We’re asking please come. Check out the natural resources we have, but just don’t swim in the Housatonic River,” said Bass.

Bass said there are several safety concerns with the river.

One is the current is deceiving. He said that’s because of the power plant that draws down from Candlewood Lake and the Bleachery Dam.

“It almost becomes a washing machine. You have the water that’s tumbling and the force of the water keeps things pushed down. If you happen to be in that and you’re pushed down there’s no way you can get up,” said Bass.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drownings are the leading cause of injury death in children ages one to four years old.

The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) said there have been 10 water related incidents this season alone, and over half were drowning deaths.

“Our goal is to have zero drownings this year,” said Bass.

If you’re heading out on any river experts say you should follow these tips:

  • Check water levels and current conditions before you go
  • Go with a group of more than three people
  • And always wear a life jacket
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