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College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


Waterman a Model for Water Conservation

June 16, 2004

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Agricultural run-off into surface waters is one of the leading causes of water pollution, especially in area watersheds. But there are ways to achieve zero nutrient run off and an upcoming field day is designed to show farmers just how to accomplish this.


Ohio State University, in conjunction with the Ohio Land Improvement Contractors Association (OLICA), will hold a Conservation Construction Field Day at Ohio State's Waterman Agriculture and Natural Resources Lab June 25-26 in Columbus, Ohio.

Members of OLICA will be installing several soil and water conservation designs on the Waterman grounds. Such projects will include installing over 40 acres of subsurface drainage; geotextiling; a culvert, control stand inlet; and a collection of sump practices — all designed to serve as a model for ways to control agricultural run-off.

"Over the past several years OLICA contractors have helped Ohio State create a wetlands filtration system that captures runoff from the Waterman greenhouse and other production facilities," said Larry Brown, an Ohio State agricultural engineering professor. "Current surface and subsurface drainage features are being improved, and new practices are being installed to further enhance the farm's abilities to ensure that nutrients such as nitrates stay on the farm as water enters the Olentangy River watershed."

In addition to the construction projects, interested citizen groups, community leaders, public officials, researchers and contractors are invited to the two-day event to participate in special tours and workshops focusing on underground utility safety, micro-irrigation for home lawns and gardens, the Living Machine treating all dairy facility wastewater, and the Waterman wetland filtration system.

"A lot of practices being installed at the Waterman facility are helping farmers across Ohio reduce runoff and improve water quality," said Louis McFarland of C.K. McFarland & Sons Construction in Circleville, Ohio, and an OLICA contractor and project leader.

"The public will have a great opportunity to visit with agricultural engineers and conservation/environmental contractors to see how new surveying and equipment technologies are being used too," said OLICA State President, Terry McConnell of McConnell Excavating in Bellevue, Ohio.

"We'll be using new GPS satellite and laser measuring and land forming equipment in creating an all-encompassing drainage system at Waterman."

Located within walking distance of Ohio Stadium and the Schottenstein Center, as well as bordered by Upper Arlington, the City of Columbus and other urban development, the 75-acre-plus Waterman facility is home to a dairy operation, pasturelands, cash grain fields and specialized crop production areas.

OLICA has maintained a long-standing relationship with Ohio State University regarding environmental stewardship. The organization has constructed wetland filtration, subirrigation, controlled drainage, septic and other environmental research facilities at Ohio State's Molly Caren Agricultural Research Center near London, Ohio; the Defiance Agricultural Research Center near Defiance, Ohio; the Unger Research Farm in Bucyrus, Ohio, and the Ohio State-Lima campus.

For more information on the Conservation Construction Field Day contact OLICA at (614) 249-8150 or log on to

Candace Pollock
Dale Arnold, Larry Brown