Official Lake Source Cooling website 

This site provides information on “How it works,” “Monitoring data,” and “Environmental Impact Statement.”

Project summary from the site: “Lake Source Cooling is one of the most significant environmental initiatives ever undertaken by an American university to promote a sustainable future. With its startup in July 2000, Lake Source Cooling (LSC) upgraded the central campus chilled water system to a more environmentally sound design that conserves energy and utilizes a renewable resource, the deep cold waters of nearby Cayuga Lake. With a price tag of $58.5 million, a higher cost than simply replacing the existing chillers with new, LSC was a significant project. However, it provides the university with a method of cooling that eliminates refrigeration equipment and its associated energy use, impacts on the environment from energy use, and any future problems with the new generation of refrigerants that have been designed to replace CFC's.

LSC was proposed in 1994 and approved by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation in 1998. Nearly four years of environmental study and review resulted in a four volume, 1500 page Environmental Impact Statement that thoroughly described the potential impacts of the project on the lake. The DEC determined that LSC could provide the stated environmental benefits without harm to Cayuga Lake. Even so, the DEC has required Cornell to include many special features in the construction and operation of the project to further minimize any impacts identified. In addition, they required the university to carry out a lake monitoring program that, through data and independent oversight, will verify its safe operation on the lake.”


Official Cayuga Lake Monitoring website 

This site provides information on “Modeling Project FAQs,” “Related documents,” and “Lake monitoring data”.

Project summary from the site: “Cornell is required to fund a water quality model of Cayuga Lake as one of several conditions placed on the Lake Source Cooling (LSC) discharge permit renewal. NYSDEC and Cornell agree that a water quality model of Cayuga Lake is needed to establish whether the return flow from the LSC facility has any negative impacts on Cayuga Lake. Once completed, the model will enable NYS DEC to determine how much phosphorus can be added to the southern basin of Cayuga Lake from all sources, while protecting the lake’s water quality and aquatic habitat. This regulatory determination is referred to as a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) allocation. Since 2002, the southern basin of Cayuga Lake has been on state and federal lists of impaired waters requiring a TMDL. NYSDEC has not been able to complete the phosphorus TMDL for southern Cayuga Lake due to limited funding resources. We welcome active community participation and hope you will return to this web site often to find meeting announcements, meeting summaries, and draft materials for your review. Throughout the project, there will be numerous opportunities for community members to provide their input in other ways as well--look for a schedule of events.”