Welcome to CSI's Database!
This database contains water quality data produced by CSI's monitoring partnerships with groups of trained and dedicated volunteers in the Cayuga Lake and Upper Susquehanna River watersheds in New York. It also contains data on groundwater quality relative to "signature chemicals" in waste produced by high volume hydraulic fracturing ("hydrofracking").
Surface water and groundwater
In this archive, water is divided into two broad categories:
- 1. Surface water, such as streams and lakes,
- 2. Groundwater, such as water from homeowners' private drinking water wells.
Surface water samples and groundwater samples are collected in so-called events. Each event corresponds to a specific date. For example, in a surface water event, stream samples are collected from one or more stream locations on, say, May 13, 2011. In a groundwater event, one sample is collected from one private well on one date.
Spatial hierarchy: Monitoring region > Monitoring set > Monitoring location
Monitoring data are organized in three tiers. The first tier: Monitoring region, is defined the same for surface water and groundwater. The second tier: Monitoring set, and the third tier: Monitoring location, are defined differently for surface water and groundwater.
- Monitoring region: A water-related geographic area, generally 1,000 square miles or more, where volunteer groups collect stream samples and CSI staff collect groundwater samples for analysis of water quality by CSI's certified lab. CSI is currently active in two regions: The Cayuga Lake watershed and the Upper Susquehanna River watershed.
- Monitoring set: A monitoring set is defined differently for surface water and groundwater.
- Surface water: A surface water monitoring set is defined as a set of fixed locations that have been selected by a group of volunteers and that are sampled in regular monitoring events by that group. A monitoring set often consists of locations on a stream and its tributaries and is referred to as that stream's watershed, for example, the Six Mile Creek monitoring set in the Cayuga Lake monitoring region. A monitoring set does not have to be a watershed. It may also consist of a set of sampling locations in a lake or a park that are sampled in regular monitoring events by a group of volunteers.
- Groundwater: A groundwater monitoring set is defined as a county. The reason is that all of CSI's groundwater data relate to risks from high volume hydraulic fracturing ("hydrofracking"), and those risks are being dealt with by local governments at the county and municipal levels.
- Monitoring location: A monitoring location is defined differently for surface water and groundwater.
- Surface water: A surface water monitoring location is defined as one of many locations in a monitoring set. Each location is a point on a surface water body where samples are collected by volunteers in regular monitoring events and which can be identified by its latitude and longitude coordinates
- Groundwater: A groundwater monitoring location is defined as a one-mile grid square. The reason is to protect the privacy of private clients who have graciously given CSI permission to add their results to our data pool. By removing addresses and aggregating private well data in one-mile grid squares, CSI aims to guarantee the anonymity of our clients while creating a regional groundwater baseline with meaningful spatial resolution.
Important note: As of 3 May 2012, all data in the archive are surface water data. Groundwater data will be added pending further development of the database.
"Monitoring regions" button
Select the monitoring region of interest
- "View Details" links to a list of surface water monitoring sets within the region.
"Monitoring sets" button
Links to list of surface water monitoring sets in Cayuga Lake region. Each monitoring set page has four parts:
- Zoomable Google map showing locations in the monitoring set
- Graphs of test results, accessible by drop-down menu, that show averages of all base flow and stormwater samples collected at each location
- A list of locations in the monitoring set
- A list of events for the monitoring set
Locations: Click on the name of a location in the list to go to the page for that location. The location page includes:
- Zoomable Google map
- Graphs of test results, accessible by drop-down menu, that show average monthly values for base flow and stormwater samples
- A description and rationale for selecting the location
Links to a list of the dates of all the surface water monitoring events entered in the archive for an entire region, for example, 396 monitoring events in the Cayuga Lake watershed as of 5/3/12.
A list of the dates of surface water monitoring events for a specific monitoring set within the region can be accessed at the bottom of the "monitoring set" page.
A surface water monitoring event page has two parts:
- A graph of all the test results at all locations in a monitoring set that were sampled on that date
- A table of all the test results at all locations in a monitoring set that were sampled on that date
Please note that you can toggle between multiple and single parameters in the graph by clicking on the names of the parameters in the legend.
"Data Query Interface" button
The CSI data archive can be searched using an array of search criteria. The "data query interface" page is designed to launch a search. It has two parts:
- Search criteria
- Search results
You can download your search results to MS Excel by clicking on "Export" button below the search criteria.
Data quality overview ("metadata")
All of the data in this archive have been generated in programs that have been designed and carried out by the Community Science Institute. The details of how water samples are collected and analyzed vary among our monitoring programs, depending on the extent of volunteer involvement. Following is a brief description of methods for sampling and analysis. Inquiries about our methods are welcome, and details will be provided on request. CSI's over-arching goal is to maintain a high level of data quality such that results can be used with confidence by governments and private citizens to manage water resources in local and regional contexts.
Surface water methods
Cayuga Lake watershed: Trained volunteer groups collect grab samples synoptically one to five times a year in their monitoring sets and transport the samples to CSI's certified lab for analysis of a dozen traditional water quality indicators. Comprehensive certified baseline measurements of indicators specific to contamination from shale gas operations ("hydrofracking"), eg., barium, strontium, gross alpha and beta radioactivity and others, will be performed once a year at select monitoring locations in the Cayuga Lake watershed beginning in 2012.
Upper Susquehanna River Basin: Volunteer groups are organized into teams of three to five volunteers. Teams use portable kits and meters to perform field measurements of five "red flag" indicators of contamination from shale gas operations: Temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen, conductivity and total hardness. Volunteers submit their results to CSI, and the quality of volunteer field data is evaluated by CSI staff based on calibration standards, duplicates and split samples. Field data that meet strict acceptance criteria are entered in this archive. Comprehensive certified baseline measurements of indicators specific to contamination from shale gas operations ("hydrofracking"), e.g., barium, strontium, gross alpha and beta radioactivity, total dissolved solids, chemical oxygen demand and others, are performed once a year at a subset of "red flag" monitoring locations.
All regions: Drinking water samples are collected from private wells by CSI staff and analyzed by CSI's certified lab and by New York State certified sub-contract labs for 20 "signature chemicals" and 54 Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) including BTEX. Test results will be pooled and presented on this website in formats that protect clients' privacy. Approximately 80% of CSI's private baseline clients have granted written permission to pool their test results as part of CSI's Regional Baseline Initiative of groundwater quality relative to potential contamination from "hydrofracking". Volunteers are not involved in the collection of groundwater data.