Chemung County Water Quality Strategy Committee
- Mark Watts, Chair
Every two months, members of the Chemung County Water Quality Strategy Committee (WQSC) go out to monitor surface waters across Chemung County. Currently, there are 13 monitoring sites. View a map of the sites (PDF).
What type of monitoring do we do? In essence, we take a snapshot of each site. This type of monitoring demonstrates consistency or lack thereof, for the water at each sampling location. First off, general information is gathered; date, time, and weather conditions. We use a sensor that is placed in the creek to gather data on specific conductance, dissolved oxygen, depth, and temperature. Visual observations are noted for the presence of aquatic life, clarity of the water, presence of litter or debris in the water and flow. A sample of the water is collected and taken to the Elmira Water Board where analysis generates data for turbidity, alkalinity, hardness, chloride, and pH.
Purpose of Monitoring
So why do we do this? It allows us to obtain baseline data and track any changes at each site. There are a number of environmental impacts that can affect the data such as time of year, snowmelt, rainfall and drought which have to be taken into account each time the site is sampled.
Spike / Drop in Numbers
Currently, the waters we sample are very consistent. So what happens if we do see something different in our visual observations or get a spike or drop in our numbers? It depends on what we find. There are many partner members in the Water Quality Committee who might get involved. If it is trash or litter, the Friends of the Chemung River Watershed would be contacted to set upstream bank clean-up. Other "go-to" members are Chemung County Soil and Water Conservation District, Stormwater Coalition, or the County Department of Health. These partners would also be utilized to follow up and disseminate the changes in question.
Stream Sampling Data
View stream sampling data from 2012 to 2019.
In 1993, Chemung County realized a need to formulate a strategy to protect and improve water quality. The Chemung County Water Quality Strategy Committee was organized to address various water quality impairments. A strategy was written and updated in 1996 to assist in the implementation of measures to improve and maintain the quality of water in Chemung County. In order to remain current, the Strategy was again updated in 2007.
- Maintain an updated listing of countywide groundwater and watershed-specific water quality concerns.
- Collect, tabulate and consolidate available water quality information.
- Establish a network between agencies.
- Promote and introduce specific programs that assist in preventing or alleviating water quality impairments.
- Educate the public on water quality issues.
- Evaluate the program and make amendments as needed.
The Water Quality Strategy Committee is available to municipalities to assist in improving water quality. Upon request, the committee will review projects, meet with officials and make recommendations. This service is offered to all agencies in Chemung County.
- Assist municipalities with site plan applications
- Flood attenuation projects
- Flood plain management workshops
- Homeowners packet of information available through code enforcement officers
- Host meetings for code enforcement officers
- Nutrient management grant
- Road bank erosion inventory
- Storm drain stenciling
WQSC Partners In Chemung County
The following booklets are available from municipal town halls, Cornell Extension of Chemung County, and the Chemung County Soil and Water Conservation District:
- Best Management Practices During Timber Harvesting Operations
- The Homeowner's Lawn Care and Water Quality Almanac
- Stream Processes - A Guide to Living in Harmony with Streams