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Water: Nonpoint Source Success Stories

New York

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Village of Forestville -
Water Quality and Water Quantity Improve



A two-year project to protect and improve the springs that are the Village of Forestville's primary source of drinking water is nearing completion. The project (in the southeastern corner of New York) involved activities to remove the potential for nonpoint source groundwater contamination, protect public health, and increase system efficiency. If successful, the project will not only address threats to water quality, but will also increase the quantity of water provided. The availability of groundwater to deep production wells is extremely limited in this area; hence, the importance of safeguarding the shallow groundwater collection system.


Preserving future integrity

The village was able to shut down two shallow, low-yield wells -- a gain in water conservation, a reduction in operating costs.

Work performed on this project includes reconstructing the groundwater collection systems, diverting overland flow away from the collection systems, sealing disturbed areas to inhibit infiltration to the systems, revegetating disturbed areas, and implementing a watershed maintenance plan to preserve the system's future integrity.

Monitoring to assure the project's effectiveness show that both water quality and water quantity have improved. The turbidity spikes that used to be associated with storm events have been eliminated. Bacteria levels have also declined dramatically. The Village has been able to reduce the amount of chlorine used to disinfect its water by 50 percent. In terms of yield, the production of the springs has increased from about 50,000 gallons per day to about 110,000 gallons per day. On the strength of this increase, the Village was able to shut down two shallow, low-yield wells a gain in water conservation, a reduction in operating costs. The Village plans to continue formal postproject monitoring through the summer of 1997.


CONTACT: Current contact information
is no longer available.



Constructed Wetlands Block Passage of Nutrients -
The Wayne County Project



As part of a project to reduce nonpoint source nutrient loadings to Port Bay, the Wayne County, New York, Water Quality Coordinating Committee has sampled tributaries that enter the Bay (which is connected to Lake Ontario). The committee determined that Wolcott Creek was the highest priority tributary.

Recommending treatment

These two constructed wetlands, both in the Wolcott Creek watershed, will reduce nutrients in runoff from two significant agriculture sources.

Based on a study of the nutrient loadings in Wolcott Creek and subsequent analysis of management strategies, the soil and water conservation district recommended that constructed wetlands be installed on two farms in the watershed. The wetlands were constructed in 1996.

The first wetland was designed to treat milkhouse wastewater from a 120-head dairy farm. The system has dual beds and a design flow of 360 gallons per day. Separation tanks were installed to reduce the volume of solids entering the treatment beds. Both beds are 60 feet wide, 25 feet long, and 2 feet deep. Bed one is an organic matter bed filled with 70 percent wood chips, 20 percent pine bark, and 10 percent stone. The second bed is filled completely with washed stone and planted to Phragmites.

The second wetland is a single bed system with washed stone and Phragmites. It has a design flow of 480 gallons per day. The bed is 120 feet long, 30 feet wide, and 2 feet deep. Alternating berms slow the water's movement through the wetland. A clean water diversion on the upland end of the barnyard prevents runoff from entering the waste stream.

Determining efficiency

Comparisons of water quality samples taken before and after the constructed wetlands treatment indicate that the wetland does successfully contribute to nonpoint source control. Downward trending data (expressed as averages) were recorded for the following indicators:

  • Organic Nitrogen (TKN): down 91.5 percent;
  • NO2 and NO3: down 47 percent;
  • Ammonia: down 84 percent;
  • Total Phosphorus: down 93 percent;
  • Soluble Phosphorus: down 70 percent.

Nutrients have been identified as the primary pollutant to Port Bay, causing significant algae blooms annually. Agricultural sources have been identified as the primary source of nutrients to both the Bay itself and to Wolcott Creek. These two constructed wetlands, both in the Wolcott Creek watershed, will reduce nutrients in runoff from two significant agricultural sources.


CONTACT: Current contact information
is no longer available.

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