NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – The federal government is granting $6.5 million to preserve and restore the Long Island Sound in Connecticut.

The funding will support water quality and the protection of wildlife and environmental habitats.

High levels of pollution have been a problem for decades for Long Island Sound.

Officials said untreated sewage and materials released into the environment is what plagues the body of water.

“Due to persistent problems along the sound — wildlife, fisheries, water quality, and surrounding communities are put at-risk – so is the economic viability of the sound,” U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn) said.

Officials with the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) said the Long Island Sound is an important economic driver to Connecticut as it brings in billions of dollars.

Blumenthal also plans to urge the passage of the Long Island Sound Restoration and Stewardship Reauthorization Act which he says is critical.

He said the funding will allow the projects to move forward immediately which will create better beaches, impacting marsh land and removing sewage.