Institutes and Centers
At Penn State, many entities address water-related issues in various ways. For some, the focus is direct and water is the primary interest. For others, the focus is indirect, addressing broader issues which either include water or have implications for water. A list of institutes and centers that address water related topics at the University includes:
- Agriculture and Environment Center (AEC), http://extension.psu.edu/aec
- Biomass Energy Center, http://www.bioenergy.psu.edu/
- Center for Watershed Stewardship (operated jointly with College of Arts and Architecture), http://water.psu.edu/cws/
- Environment and Natural Resources Institute (ENRI), http://agsci.psu.edu/enri
- Water Extension Portal, http://extension.psu.edu/water
- Center for Climate Risk Management (CLIMA), http://www.clima.psu.edu/index.php
- Center for Environmental Informatics (CEI), http://apps.cei.psu.edu/cei_wp/
- Center for Geomechanics, Geofluids, and Geohazards (G3), http://g3.ems.psu.edu/
- Earth and Environmental Systems Institute (EESI), http://www.eesi.psu.edu/
- Earth System Science Center (ESSC), http://www.essc.psu.edu/
- Marcellus Center for Outreach and Research (MCOR) (also supported by the College of Agricultural Sciences), http://www.marcellus.psu.edu/
- Penn State Ice and Climate Research Center (PSICE), http://www.psice.psu.edu/
- Riparia (Wetlands Center), http://www.wetlands.psu.edu/
- Engineering Environmental Institute (EEI), http://www.engr.psu.edu/e3i/
- Garfield Thomas Water Tunnel Facilities, https://www.arl.psu.edu/facil_tunnels.php
- Rock Ethics Institute, http://rockethics.psu.edu/
- Environmental Training Center, http://hbg.psu.edu/etc/
- Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences http://www.huck.psu.edu/
- Institute for Natural Gas Research (INGaR) http://www.ems.psu.edu/INGaR
- Penn State Institutes of Energy and the Environment (PSIEE), http://www.iee.psu.edu/
- Pennsylvania Water Resources Research Center (PA‐WRRC), http://www.pawatercenter.psu.edu/
- Sustainability Institute http://sustainability.psu.edu/
- Walker Building Weather Station and Arboretum Weather Station,
- Center for Green Roof Research,
- Shavers Creek Environmental Center,
- The Pennsylvania Housing/Research Center,
- Center for Dirt and Gravel Road Studies,
- Sedimentation basin facility
Shared Use Analytical Laboratory Facilities
Water-related research often requires analytical support. At Penn State, several shared multi-user research facilities are equipped with state-of-the-art instruments providing the foundation for water research, education, and outreach activities at the University.
- The Energy and Environmental Sustainability Laboratories (EESL), http://eesl.iee.psu.edu
- Materials Characterization Laboratory (MCL), http://www.mri.psu.edu/facilities/mcl/
- Agricultural Analytical Services Laboratory, http://www.aasl.psu.edu
- Center for Statistical Ecology and Environmental Statistics, http://sites.stat.psu.edu/~gpp/
- Statistical Consulting Center, http://stat.psu.edu/consulting/statistical-consulting-center
Penn State Properties/Facilities for Water Research
Penn State has significant land holdings, more than 18,000 acres of land that are used for various types of research at the University. These tracts host ongoing experiments, as well as provide opportunities for additional experiments associated with a range of water-related topics. The University owns 2.7 miles of perennial stream in Centre County. The Office of Physical Plant (OPP) maintains models for most systems and can work with faculty to integrate into class teaching or research. In addition, the University owns hundreds of miles of collection/distribution systems for potable/water/stormwater.
Agricultural Land Properties
The College of Agricultural Sciences manages approximately 2000 acres of agricultural lands at Rock Springs, and about 400 acres of agricultural land at the Rockview State Correctional facility. The Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center at Rock Springs includes an agronomy farm, an entomology farm, a horticulture farm, and a plant pathology farm – all of which involve water and its linkages to agriculture.
Many of the agricultural parcels are used for research, teaching, and outreach that involve linkages between plants and water in an effort to provide guidance on decisions for water use. Substantial research at the farms focuses on relationships of water stress to crop productivity, and interactions of water, nutrients, and crops. http://agsci.psu.edu/research/centers/rock-springs.
Critical Zone Watershed Observatory
The Shales Hills watershed within the Penn State Forest in Stone Valley, PA, is managed by the Forest Lands Management Office of the College of Agricultural Sciences. This watershed was selected by the National Science Foundation (NSF) as one of a network of prestigious experimental watershed sites called Critical Zone Observatories. Significant funding is being invested by NSF to Penn State to study integration and coupling of Earth surface processes as mediated by the presence and flux of fresh water. Extensive monitoring and modeling are underway to advance understanding of the critical zone that supports life on earth, including air, water, soil, and bedrock. The watershed was initially established for long-term observation by the School of Forest Resources in the 1950s and the record of long-term data to build from was one of the primary reasons that this site was chosen for further investment by NSF. Data are being preserved for research in perpetuity. http://www.czo.psu.edu.
Forest Land Properties
The Forest Lands Management Office of the College of Agricultural Sciences manages approximately 8000 acres of forest land at various locations around Pennsylvania. Many of the forest parcels are used for research, teaching, and outreach on various aspects of water and water resources management. The Stone Valley forest parcels, for example, include long-term watershed research at Shale Hills and Leading Ridge, as well as climate warming and forest biogeochemistry studies in other areas of the forest. Similarly, the Bald Eagle forest parcel includes Penn State’s Laurel Haven Conservation Education Center, where toddlers to senior citizens are taught about water and other natural resources and resource management as part of long-standing outreach programs. http://ecosystems.psu.edu/facilities/fmo.
The University is a living city and owns and operates all of its own water systems including potable water, wastewater, and stormwater.
Wastewater Treatment and Spray Field Properties
The University owns three wastewater treatment plants. Water Treatment Plant (https://opp.psu.edu/water-treatment-plant) with a source water plan and website (https://www.centralpasourcewater.org/), production wells in two well fields, and water distribution system including water towers/storage. The Office of the Physical Plant (OPP) manages a wastewater collection, treatment, and disposal system that is owned by Penn State and serves the University Park campus. Treated wastewater effluent is re-used for irrigation via spray fields covering more than 600 acres of mixed agricultural and forest lands, known as the “Living Filter”. This “living filter” land treatment area provides tertiary treatment to the University’s wastewater effluent, recharges groundwater and is environmentally friendly. These unique facilities have long supported a host of research projects, field trips, and public outreach activities. http://www.opp.psu.edu/about-opp/divisions/ee/util/wastewater-services.
Water Supply Systems
The University owns has three water supply systems at Campuses. Under stormwater/surface water, note University owns 6 regulated dams, dozens of traditional surface ponds, multiple types of subsurface detention facilities, constructed wetlands, low head weirs (first pioneered at PSU), dozens of rain gardens and bioswales, protected recharge facilities, infiltration trenches, infiltration beds, porous pavements, cisterns, oil water separators, trash racks, green roofs (3 acres), water quality structures (hydrodynamic types, etc.).
The University has approximately a dozen Campuses with MS4 (municipal separate storm sewer system) permits (https://opp.psu.edu/penn-states-ms4-program).
The University holds dozens of water quality and water-related permits, which are maintained by the Office of Physical Plant. Can be used for educational purposes. The University has extensive monitoring wells and gages collecting data on water quality and quantity. Note, operators frequently have very different opinions from faculty that teach or interact with regulatory agencies. Almost any water-related regulation, the University as a landowner/facility operator deals with.
The University supports Water Resources Monitoring Project that has other data and educational opportunities. http://www.springcreekmonitoring.org/index.html