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Sodus Bay; photo courtesy of Seaway Trail and John Griebsch
The first accurate means of assessing nitrogen leaching from shoreline septic systems is the goal of proof-of-concept trials that will be conducted at 12 locations along Sodus Bay in 2018.

The State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF), Syracuse, NY, has received a $20,611 grant from the Great Lakes Research Consortium to conduct the research. The project is one of five projects awarded funding by the consortium of 18 colleges and universities in New York State.

Funding for the Great Lakes Research Consortium grants is provided through the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the New York State Environmental Protection Fund Ocean and Great Lakes Ecosystem Conservation Act program.

The five projects will address critical issues associated with pharmaceuticals, pollution and septic leaching; harmful algal bloom, and climate-related coastal resiliency. ESF received funding for two projects; the University at Buffalo received funding for two projects; and Syracuse University received funding for one project.

Dr. Mark A. Teece is the principal researcher for the project titled "Use of Nitrogen Isotopes as an Indicator of Septic Pollution to Sodus Bay." The work involves the testing of aquatic weeds for a natural biochemical signature indicating nitrogen accumulation. Water testing will measure caffeine levels as a septic output indicator. The metrics developed by this project are expected to apply to any waters, particularly those with aging septic systems along shore.

Project partners include Save Our Sodus, the Wayne County Soil and Water Conservation District, and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

For details on all the projects receiving the GLRC funding and for information on how the GLRC funds grants for student research, student travel to conference and workshops, and student internships, visit the website at www.esf.edu/glrc.


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