TREC - Hydrology

Concern over the purity of both surface and groundwater is a growing issue. As world population grows it becomes more important to understand how to manage and protect our fresh water supplies. Hydrologists study water on Earth’s surface, in streams, rivers, and lakes, and water that is underground (groundwater).  Of particular interest to hydrologists are pathways water takes as it is transferred from one reservoir to another, like the movement of surface water through the soil zone to the groundwater table.

One area of hydrology with which TREC faculty and students are involved includes investigations of natural and constructed wetlands.  Wetlands are important because, in addition to being unique biological resources, they represent zones of surface and groundwater interaction.  We have conducted research on artificial wetlands in Ohio that are being used to treat runoff from abandoned coal mines, agricultural lands and domestic wastewater.  Other groups have investigated the hydrology of a natural fen in Geauga County threatened by development.

Natural springs are areas where groundwater is discharged to the surface.  We also have investigated the chemistry and flow of natural springs in Northeast Ohio.  Studies have been used to infer the flow of water, contaminated with road salt, through the Sharon Sandstone aquifer.