Hydrology Program

Hydrology Program

Understanding Hydrology

Hydrology is the study of the occurrence and distribution of water on the earth both above and below ground, and the chemical and biological processes that determine water quality. Hydrology is an interdisciplinary science encompassing aspects of geology, chemistry, physics, and biology.

Water resources is the study of water use, and water resources management maintains and protects water supplies. Water resources is an interdisciplinary field of study encompassing aspects of hydrology, political science, economics, health science, sociology, and history.

Contemporary water issues range from water supply to flood hazards to wetland protection/renovation to stream, lake, and groundwater pollution.

The Environmental Earth Science Department offers formal courses in hydrology and water resources, student research and internship opportunities, as well as, a minor in Hydrogeology.

Formal Courses Offered in Hydrology and Water Resources

EES 222: Water and Society
An introduction to water resources from a global perspective
EES 321: Introduction to Watershed Manage
An exploration of the principles and practice of watershed management in the United States.
EES 322: Hydrology with Laboratory
An introduction to physical hydrology with an emphasis on quantifying the hydrologic cycle.
EES 323: Drinking Water Management
An exploration of drinking water regulations and practices in the United States.
EES 336: Applied Hydrogeochemistry with Laboratory
An introduction to chemical hydrology and water quality.
EES 422: Groundwater Hydrology with Laboratory
An exploration of the occurrence and movement of groundwater.
EES 436: Introduction to Contaminant Hydrogeology
An introduction to conducting groundwater contamination studies.

Courses with laboratory incorporate hands-on experiences in the field, laboratory, and computer laboratory.

Hydrology Field Laboratory

The Eastern Arboretum, an on-campus forested/wetland area, provides a natural field laboratory that is readily accessible for hydrologic investigations. The Arboretum is located in a stream valley and encompasses a small perennial stream and pond. The arboretum is instrumented with 11 water-table wells—six wells are located along a transect across the stream valley and five wells are located around the pond.

Research/Internship Opportunities and the Annual Hydrogeology Award

Additional research sites are located around the state. Students conducting independent research are encouraged to present their results at regional conferences as well as the Eastern Student Research Conference in Arts and Sciences. External internships and cooperative learning experiences are available through environmental consulting firms, environmental laboratories, the CT Department of Environmental Protection, regional offices of the Natural Resource Conservation Service, and non-governmental organizations. Outstanding hydrology students are eligible to receive the Hydrogeology Award.

Laboratory Facilities

The Hydrology/Water Resources Program relies on three laboratory facilities in addition to field sites.

  • The Physical Hydrology Laboratory is equipped for determining the physical characteristics of geologic materials, such as particle size distribution, permeability, and resistivity.
  • The Hydrogeochemistry Laboratory is equipped for determining inorganic and microbiological constituents in water samples collected from field sites.
  • The EES Computer Laboratory has state-of-the-art software for interpreting hydrologic data and for computer modeling of hydrologic systems.

Surface-Water Hydrology

  • Gurley Price AA current meter with digital recorder and top-setting wading rod
  • Gurley pygmy current meter with digital recorder and top-setting wading rod
  • Gurley pygmy current meter with headphones and top-setting wading rod
  • FISP sediment sampler
  • Steven Type F water level recorder and stilling well
  • Class A evaporation station
  • Recording rain gauge
  • Hach-Sigma 900 Max portable water sampler

Water Chemistry

  • Metrohm IC Pro—Anions
  • Metrohm IC Pro—Cations
  • Hach DR 5000 UV/VIS laboratory spectrophotometer
  • Hach DR 2010 field spectrophotometers
  • Hach microbiology field laboratory
  • ThermoFisher autotitrator
  • YSI water quality monitoring (flow through) system
  • Water sample filtering apparatus
  • Field pH, Eh, DO, EC, and T meters
  • ISE probes and meters
  • Barnstead EasyPure II

Ground-Water Hydrology

  • Fultz SP-300R portable submersible sampling pump for 2” wells
  • TriLoc portable hand pump for 2” wells
  • Solinst levelloggers
  • Stevens 420 level loggers
  • Electric water depth meters
  • Soil Test laboratory permeameters, 3” and 6” dia.

Subsurface Investigations

  • Little Beaver hydraulic earth drill and accessories
  • JMC ESP+ (subsoil sampler) w/ Bosch Electric Hammer and accessories
  • AGI STING R1 earth resistivity system and accessories
  • Geometric’s GEODE 12-channel seismograph
  • Sieve shaker, sieve sets, and hydrometer analysis kit

Vadose-Zone Hydrology

  • Guelph field permeameters
  • MP-917 Moisture Point System (TDR) and accessories
  • Soil Measurement Systems Tensimeter
  • Double-ring infiltrometer

Surveying and Technical Equipment

  • Topcon Auto Levels with aluminum tripods, fiberglass surveyor’s rods
  • DISTO laser distance meters
  • Geologist’s surveying compass with Jacob’s staff
  • Planix 7 digital planimeters
  • Electronic map measurers