Sampling Program

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The P Project:  Sampling Program

Sampling Program

This sampling program for phosphorus will provide baseline information about total phosphorus (TP) in several of the main tributaries to Owasco and Cayuga Lakes. The data will be utilized to prioritize future monitoring and phosphorus education programs.


In nature, phosphorus usually exists as part of a phosphate molecule (PO4). Phosphorus in aquatic systems occurs as organic phosphate and inorganic phosphate. Both organic and inorganic phosphorus can either be dissolved in the water or suspended (attached to particles in the water column). Testing water for total phosphorus provides a complete measure of all the phosphorus that is actually in the water (inorganic and organic P, dissolved and suspended). For more information about the different forms of phosphorus visit the EPA's website for monitoring and assessing water quality (http://www.epa.gov/owow/monitoring/volunteer/stream/vms56.html).

Sampling Procedure

Sampling is conducted during storm events to capture "first flush" runoff. "First flush" refers to the stormwater that initially runs off an area after rainfall. This "first flush" of stormwater is usually more polluted than the stormwater that runs off later, after the rainfall has ’cleansed’ the area.

Grab samples will be collected from 20 sampling points in the Owasco and Cayuga Lake watersheds during storm events in May through October 2004. The following information will be recorded for each sampling location:

  • date of collection
  • time of collection
  • water temperature
  • current wind and sky conditions
  • wind and sky conditions during last 24 hours
  • GPS locations
  • Digital photos (upstream and downstream of sampling point)
Samples will be taken to a local certified laboratory for TP analysis. At the completion of the project, the data will be assessed and a report made to the Cayuga County Water Quality Management Agency.

2004 Total Phosphorus Sampling Program for the Cayuga and Owasco Lake Watersheds

To view a pdf file of the results of the 2004 Total Phosphorus Sampling Program for the Cayuga and Owasco Lake Watersheds, Click Here (553KB).

To view a pdf file of the sampling points in the Cayuga Lake Watershed, Click Here (1443KB).

To view a pdf file of the sampling points in the Owasco Lake Watershed, Click Here (1409KB).

To view PDF files, you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your computer. If you do not have this software, click here to download a free copy now.

More Information

For more information about the TP sampling program portion of the P-Project, please contact us.

Preparing sample bottle
A sterile sample bottle is secured to the end of the collection pole.

Sampling Fall Creek
Sampling from the Branch Road bridge on Fall Creek, just upstream of Lake Como.

Sampling Indian Cove
Sampling site on at Indian Cove in the Owasco Lake watershed.

Sampling Yawgers Creek
Sampling on Yawgers Creek in the Cayuga Lake watershed.

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Page updated 2/15/05