Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2016NY227B

Evaluating Septic System Inputs into Sodus Bay using Oblique Imagery, Optical Brighteners, and DNA-based tracers

Institute: New York
Year Established: 2016 Start Date: 2016-03-01 End Date: 2017-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $15,225 Total Non-Federal Funds: $30,880

Principal Investigators: Paul Richards

Abstract: This study implements a new approach to assess septic field inputs into Sodus Bay, an impaired water body in New York State where it has been determined that septic systems may be partly responsible for the Bay’s deteriorated condition. Our previous work has determined that Oblique Imagery can be successfully used to identify septic fields at an accuracy rate of 75% of the time. In the proposed study we will employ this technique to map septic fields in Sodus Bay watershed and conduct targeted water quality monitoring to identify sites of concern for watershed planners. The study will use the spatial information on septics provided by the research with flow path characteristics determined from digital terrain modeling in order to estimate fluxes. The fluxes will then be compared to water quality measurements obtained from a boat. The goal is to locate significant septic leachate flowpaths and identify the portions of the watershed where leaky septic fields pose a threat to Sodus Bay.