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Chemung County Water Quality Strategy Committee

Chair - Mark Watts                   Phone: (607) 739-2009

Water Quality stream sampling: What does it tell us

Every two months, members of the Chemung County Water Quality Committee go out to monitor surface waters across Chemung County.  Currently there are 13 monitoring sites. Click here to view a map of the sites. 

What type of monitoring do we do?  In essence, we take a snapshot of each site.  This type of monitoring demonstrates consistency or lack thereof, for the water at each sampling location.  First off, general information is gathered; date, time and weather conditions.  We use a sensor which is placed in the creek to gather data on specific conductance, dissolved oxygen, depth and temperature.  Visual observations are noted for presence of aquatic life, clarity of water, presence of litter or debris in the water and flow.  A sample of the water is collected and taken to the Elmira Water Board where analysis generates data for turbidity, alkalinity, hardness, chloride and pH.

So why do we do this?  It allows us to obtain baseline data and track any changes at each site.  There are a number of environmental impacts that can affect the data such as time of year, snow melt, rainfall and drought which have to be taken into account each time the site is sampled.  

Currently, the waters we sample are very consistent.  So what happens if we do see something different in our visual observations or get a spike or drop in our numbers? It depends on what we find.  There are many partner members in the Water Quality Committee who might get involved.  If it is trash or litter, the Friends of the Chemung River Watershed would be contacted to set up stream bank clean-up. Other “go-to” members are Chemung County Soil & Water Conservation District, Stormwater Coalition or the County Department of Health. These partners would also be utilized to follow up and disseminate the changes in question. 

2019 Stream Data Sampling Data
      2019 Stream Data

2018 Stream Sampling Data
     2018 Stream Data

2017 Stream Sampling Data
2017 Stream Data

2015 Stream Sampling Data 
     2015 Stream Data

2014 Stream Sampling Data
     2014 Stream Data

2013 Stream Sampling Data
     Stream Data Page 1
     Stream Data Page 2
     Stream Data Page 3

2012 Stream Sampling Data
     Stream Data Page 1
     Stream Data Page 2
     Stream Data Page 3

For the detailed Water Quality report click here.

For a copy of the youth water quality activity booklet click here.

In 1993, Chemung County realized a need to formulate a strategy to protect and improve water quality.  The Chemung County Water Quality Strategy Committee was organized to address various water quality impairments.  A strategy was written and updated in 1996 to assist in the implementation of measures to improve and maintain the quality of water in Chemung County.  In order to remain current, the Strategy was again updated in 2007.


  • Maintain an updated listing of countywide groundwater and watershed specific water quality concerns.
  • Collect, tabulate and consolidate available water quality information.
  • Establish a network between agencies.
  • Promote and introduce specific programs that assist in preventing or  alleviating water quality impairments.
  • Educate the public on water quality issues.
  • Evaluate the program and make amendments as needed.

The Water Quality Strategy Committee is available to municipalities to assist in improving water quality.  Upon request, the committee will review projects, meet with officials and make recommendations.  This service is offered to all agencies in Chemung County.


  • Storm drain stenciling
  • Flood plain management workshops
  • Assist municipalities with site plan applications
  • Host meetings for code enforcement officers
  • Nutrient management grant
  • Road bank erosion inventory
  • Homeowners packet of information available through code enforcement officers
  • Flood attenuation projects

WQSC Partners In Chemung County

- Dept of Environmental Conservation (DEC)
- DEC Spill response hotline
- Soil & Water Conservation District
- Environmental Health Department
- Cornell Extension of Chemung County
- Chemung County Legislature
- Upper Susquehanna Coalition
- Southern Tier Central Regional Planning & Development Board (STCRPDB)
- Sportsmen's Federation
- Municipality Representatives
- Stormwater Coalition
      Town of Ashland - 607-733-0701
      Town of Big Flats - 607-562-8443 x224
      Town of Elmira - 607-734-3608
      City of Elmira - 607-737-5750
      Village of Elmira Heights - 607-734-7156
      Village of Horseheads - 607-739-5691
      Town of Horseheads - 607-739-7605
      Town of Veteran - 607-739-1476
      Town of Southport - 607-734-1548
      Village of Millport - 607-739-8263
      Village of Wellsburg - 607-734-7569

For the 2010 & 2011 Water Quality Annual Reports and for more information click here.

Water Resources

The following booklets are available from municipal town halls, Cornell Extension of Chemung County and the Chemung County Soil & Water Conservation District.

- Booklet for: Best Management Practices During Timber Harvesting  

- Stream Processes - A Guide to Living in Harmony with Streams

- The Homeowner's Lawn Care and Water Quality Almanac

Chemung County Water Quality Strategy Plan Update