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Title: Water quality data for well, stream, and seep samples from the Harford Teaching and Research Farm (Cortland County, NY): 1974-1994
Authors: Bouldin, David
Keywords: streams
water pollution
water quality
water pH
agricultural pollution
sediment pollution
ammonium compounds
ground water
ground water pollution
surface water chemistry
nitrogen compounds
phosphorus compounds
water ion concentration
suspended solids
ground water chemistry
Cortland County, NY
Issue Date: 17-Oct-2007
Abstract: Water quality data centered on the Animal Science Teaching and Research Center, Harford NY, 1974-1995 (referred to as T&R Center) In many areas of NY the level, well drained gravel outwash valleys are intensively used for a variety of human activities such as industry, housing and farming. The gravel outwash is usually deep, the water is easily accessed by high yielding wells and as a consequence the water in the aquifers is highly valued. Specific references to the northeastern U.S., central NY and the aquifer at the T&R Center are the following: Randall, Allan D., Deborah Snavelly, Thomas Holecek, and Roger Waller. 1988. Alternate sources of large seasonal ground-water supplies in the head waters of the Susquehanna River basin. U.S. Geological Survey. Water Resources Investigations Report 85-4127. USGS. Morrissey, Daniel J. Allan, Randall, and John Williams.1988. Upland runoff as a major source of recharge to stratified drift in the glaciated northeast in Randall, Allan D. ed.: Regional Aquifer systems of the United States. The Northeast glacial aquifers. AWRA monograph series no. 11. American Water Resources Association. 5410 Grosvenor Lane, Suite 220. Bethesda MD 20814-2192. The permeability of the outwash is high and hence soluble contaminants such as NO3 are leached into aquifers along with the recharge water As a consequence the impact of human activities on water quality is a major issue. A mitigating factor is that the land usage in the surrounding upland areas is much less intense and high quality water from this part of the landscape drains downslope as surface water but once it reaches the valley floor seeps into the outwash and joins (mixes with?) the recharge water from the intensively used valley floor. In 1974 a water quality monitoring network was established on and near the Cornell Teaching and Research Center near Harford NY. This is an ideal location to study the effect of farming (mostly dairy) on the nitrate and phosphorus in streams and aquifers in a typical outwash valley with its surrounding upland areas. First, a major ground water divide runs through the center of the farm; part draining to Fall Creek and the other to the Susquehanna River. This means that we know where all of the water originates. Secondly, Cornell University owns the land except for some upland areas that so far (2007) are mostly wooded/abandoned agricultural land. This simplifies access, information on usage and in some cases control management. The objectives were a) to monitor behavior of aquifers in the gravel outwash and b) monitor water quality in the aquifers and surrounding uplands. In 1974 a cooperative program was developed between Cornell University and the USGS. In early 1974 Allan Randall of the USGS guided the location and instillation of 8 monitoring wells. Following the initial 8 wells, additional shallow wells were installed. Stream sampling locations were established. Seeps on the hillsides above the valley floor were also located. Well logs and methods of installation are documented in following: <>. Beginning in 1974 and continuing through 1994 samples of water in streams, monitoring wells and seeps on the upland slopes above the valley floor were analyzed for the same constituents using the same procedures as the Fall Creek samples reported elsewhere: <>. From Feb 28, 1979 through Jan 25, 1980 the USGS made a detailed study of the behavior of precipitation inputs and its flow though the landscape and aquifers at the T&R Center. During this period about 40% of the recharge to the aquifers was derived from precipitation on the area over the aquifers and 60% runoff from the uplands. Ground-water discharged down-valley as underflow about equaled recharge during this period. Details of the studies are reported in the 2 references listed above. A description of the farming operations on the center for the period 1972 through 1994 is summarized in the following: Wang, S. J. 1999. Impact of dairy farming on well water nitrate level and soil content of phosphorus and potassium. J Dairy Sci. 82:2164-2169. Briefly, in 1994 there were 400 milking cows producing exports in milk and meat of about 20 mt of N. Imports of N were 93 mt indicating a large excess of inputs relative to outputs. For comparison, a nitrogen balance for the adjacent Fall Creek watershed in 1974 can be found in an unpublished manuscript (ms10_nbl.doc, online: <>). Nitrate N in 5 monitoring wells in the intensively farmed area which received most of the manure varied from 2 to 15 ppm NO3-N with very high variability among years and within years. Four streams drained watersheds that were without human habitations or farming operations. Two of these drained areas directly above the valley floor at the T&R Center which received the animal manure. The most important conclusions: a) concentrations of nitrate and phosphate are not different from those in the Catskills and Hubbard Brook which are also free from direct human influence and b) the loading of nitrate is about 15% of the input of wet deposition of inorganic N: the wooded areas are acting as a sink for the wet deposition of inorganic N. The results are summarized in an unpublished manuscript (Ms5_biog.doc, online <>). Dissolved inorganic P in the original wells in 1975 averaged less than 10 ppb P. In my opinion the MRP for the deep wells is a reasonable estimate of P concent in surface water prior to 1790.
Description: This data package must be uncompressed for use. In addition to the data described above, it includes an Ecological Metadata Language (EML) record, which describes in considerable detail the contents of the data table(s), methods, usage rights, and other information. All users of these data are strongly encouraged to review this EML record.
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