Predicting Areas with Elevated Arsenic in Bedrock Wells in New Hampshire
New Hampshire portion of the New England arsenic model
New evidence suggests that bladder cancer mortality is correlated with private well use in the New England
region. As part of a full-scale epidemiologic study of bladder cancer in northern New England, the U.S.
Geological Survey in cooperation with the National Cancer Institute, Colorado State University, and Dartmouth
School of Medicine developed a model that predicts which areas in New England are likely to have bedrock wells
with drinking water with arsenic concentrations exceeding 5 micrograms per liter (µg/L).
The USGS as started a new project in partnership with the
New Hampshire Department of Human Health Services
(NHDHHS), which is scheduled to begin later this year. The project will endeavor to improve the regional
model for New Hampshire, through the State's Environmental
Public Health Tracking Program, which is supported by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). In New
Hampshire, arsenic is more prevalent than in most other parts of New England and additional explanatory data
currently exist that could be used to improve model predictions within New Hampshire. An improved ability to
predict arsenic may have a significant positive effect on health outcomes by providing citizens, government
agencies, and researchers with probability estimates and other information on this contaminant.
The study objectives include assembling new arsenic data generated by the New Hampshire Environmental Health
Tracking Program; development of an updated predictive model for arsenic in bedrock wells; and assessing the
feasibility of applying this model to other contaminants as part of a proposed New Hampshire Atlas of
drinking-water well contaminants. The other contaminants could include uranium, manganese, fluoride, lead, radon,
nitrate, and VOCs, among others.
- New England Bladder Cancer Study:
Constructing contaminant exposure history by sampling and analysis at former private drinking water
- Ayotte, J.D., Baris, D., Cantor, K.P., Colt, J., Robinson, G.R., Lubin, J.H., Karagas, M., Hoover, R.N.,
Fraumeni, J.F., and Silverman, D.T., 2006,
Bladder cancer mortality and private well use in New
England: an ecological study: Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, v. 60, p. 168-172,
- Joseph D. Ayotte, B.T.N., John R. Nuckols, Kenneth P. Cantor, Gilpin R. Robinson, Jr., Dalsu Baris, Laura
Hayes, Margaret Karagas, William Bress, Debra T. Silverman, and Jay H. Lubin, 2006,
Modeling the probability of
arsenic in groundwater in New England as a tool for exposure assessment: Environmental Science and
Technology, v. 40, no. 11, p. 3578 - 3585, doi:10.1021/es051972f.
Polar Organic Compounds in Surface Waters near Lead-Zinc Mining Operations in Missouri
USGS Scientists sample tailings in Southeast Missouri
Mining activities in many areas of the country are increasing due to the expanding market in Asia for the
Nation's raw materials. One such area is the Old Lead Belt and its successor the New Lead Belt, in southeast
Missouri. Both of these areas have a long history of lead-zinc mining, which released large quantities of solid
wastes and toxic metals to the environment. Mining-related environmental studies have, therefore, focused on the
characterizing the release of metals and other inorganic materials into the environment and the effects of these
releases on air quality, water quality, and ecosystem health. Modern metal beneficiation processes, such as those
employed in the mines and mills of the New Lead Belt in Missouri, have significantly improved and minimized the
concentration of metals in the liquid wastes discharged from the beneficiation processes. However, these
processes rely heavily on organic chemicals, such as xanthates, alcohols, and other
reagents‚Äîcompounds that are toxic to humans and wildlife. These compounds are called polar organic chemicals because they have a greater affinity for other organic matter than they do for water. USGS
scientists have started a new study to investigate the occurrence of polar organic chemicals derived from metal
beneficiation in streams draining active mine-mill complexes in the New Lead Belt area of southeast Missouri. The
investigation will include onsite studies of streams, springs, and ground water; geologic mapping; research on
the mobilization of trace elements during the mining of lead-zinc ore; the effect of tailing piles on stream
water and sediment quality; surveys of stream biological quality and lead accumulation by aquatic biota; and
research on the toxicity of lead and other heavy metals to aquatic biota. The study will determine if polar
organic chemicals pose a health risk to downstream biota and drinking water sources.
Aquatic Life Exposed to Lead, Cadmium and Zinc in Missouri Streams
Streams draining a lead-mining district in southeast Missouri carry a burden of lead, cadmium and zinc, which
can find their way into aquatic life. Elevated concentrations of lead, cadmium, and zinc were found in aquatic
life that were above concentrations found in streams away from the mining areas according to a
in Environmental Monitoring and Assessment by USGS scientists. These findings are significant because they
demonstrate that heavy metals originating from long-term lead mining activity in southeast Missouri are available
for bioaccumulation by stream life. The results of this study has led to further research on potential toxic
effects of metals on aquatic life and bioaccumulation downstream of mining areas.
Citrus Pesticides in Ground Water and Lakes in Central Florida
Citrus grove in central Florida
The USGS is partnering with the Florida Department of
Agriculture and Consumer Services Bureau of Pesticides and the
Southwest Florida Water Management District to conduct an
assessment of the susceptibility of ground water and
lakes to pesticides and nutrients associated with citrus agriculture in central Florida. The sandy soils
(Entisols) along the central Florida ridge systems are a mainstay of Florida's citrus
agriculture. The Lake Wales Ridge, a representative area covered by one of the most extensive concentrations of
citrus groves in the U.S., is vulnerable to leaching of chemicals such as pesticides and fertilizers. The
ground-water system in the surficial (water table) aquifer, a source of rural water supply, is closely linked
with the numerous lakes in the region and is hydraulically connected with the underlying Upper Floridan aquifer,
the primary municipal water supply for the region. A network of wells has provided an "early warning"
of pesticides leaching into ground-water resources. The detection of nitrate, pesticides, and pesticide
degradates (chemicals formed by the degradation of pesticides) in ground water in this area confirm the
vulnerability of the region. This will be the first survey of the occurrence of pesticides in the
Mussels are Disappearing in the U.S.
Laboratory equipment used for toxicity testing of larva (glochidia) of
Freshwater mussels are rapidly declining in the United States, although not unique to North America, the
decline in the United States is notable because mussels reach their greatest diversity here. USGS scientists and
there partners have published a series of papers in Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (see New
Publications section), that discuss the development and applications of toxicity tests with early life stages of
freshwater mussels. The new toxicity tests were use to assess the sensitivity of mussels to several contaminants,
such as copper and ammonia. Their results indicate that national water-quality criteria for copper and ammonia
may not be adequately protecting the mussel species they tested.
Endocrine Disruption Found in Fish Exposed to Municipal Wastewater
Aquariums where male fathead minnows were exposed to the effluent from a
wastewater treatment plant
USGS scientists and their colleagues have found that exposure to the wastewater from a major metropolitan
sewage treatment plant caused endocrine disruption in male fathead minnows. After exposure to the wastewater the
male minnows started producing vitellogenin--a female egg-yoke protein. Treated wastewater discharge has been
identified as a source of endocrine disrupting chemicals to the aquatic environment, and their study documents
some of the potential effects, both positive and negative, in fish due to exposure to wastewater.
USGS Circular Wins Another Award
The USGS publication Disease Emergence and
Resurgence: The Wildlife-Human Connection (Circular 1285) by Milton Friend and others has recently been
awarded The Best Book Award from The Wildlife Society. Works recognized by this award of excellence are
scientific writing characterized by originality of research or thought and a high scholastic standard in the
manner of presentation. In April, the National Association of Government Communicators awarded the book first
place in the soft-cover book category.
March, F.A., Dwyer, F.J., Augspurger, T., Ingersoll, C.G., Wang, N., and Mebane, C.A., 2007, An
evaluation of freshwater mussel toxicity data in the derivation of water quality guidance and standards for copper:
Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, v. 26 (IN PRESS).
Wang, N., Augspurger, T., Barnhart, M.C., Bidwell, J.R., Cope, W.G., Dwyer, F.J., Geis, S., Greer, I.E.,
Ingersoll, C.G., Kane, C.M., May, T.W., Neves, R.J., Newton, T.J., Roberts, A.D., and Whites, D.W., 2007, Intra- and
inter-laboratory variability in acute toxicity tests with glochidia and juveniles of freshwater mussels (Unionidae). Environ
Toxicol Chem 26.: Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, v. 26 (IN PRESS).
Wang, N., Ingersoll, C.G., Greer, I.E., Hardesty, D.K., Ivey, C.D., Kunz, J.L., Dwyer, F.J., Roberts,
A.D., Augspurger, T., Kane, C.M., Neves, R.J., and Barnhart, M.C., 2007, Chronic toxicity of copper and ammonia to juvenile
freshwater mussels (Unionidae): Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, v. 26 (IN PRESS).
Wang, N., Ingersoll, C.G., Hardesty, D.K., Ivey, C.D., Kunz, J.L., May, T.W., Dwyer, F.J., Roberts,
A.D., Augspurger, T., Kane, C.M., Neves, R.J., and Barnhart, M.C., 2007, Acute toxicity of copper, ammonia, and chlorine to
glochidia and juveniles of freshwater mussels (Unionidae): Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, v. 26 (IN PRESS).
Barber, L.B., Lee, K.E., Swackhamer, D.L., Schoenfuss, H.L., 2007,
Reproductive responses of male fathead minnows exposed to wastewater
treatment plant effluent, effluent treated with XAD8 resin, and an environmentally relevant mixture of alkylphenol
compounds: Aquatic Toxicology, v. 82, no. 1, p. 36-46, doi: doi:10.1016/j.aquatox.2007.01.003.
Brumbaugh, W.G., May, T.W., Besser, J.M., Allert, A.L., and Schmitt, C.J., 2007,
Assessment of Elemental Concentrations in Streams of the New Lead Belt in
Southeastern Missouri, 2002-05: U.S. Geological Suevey Scientific Investigations Report 2007-5057, 57 p.
Farag, A.M., Nimick, D.A., Kimball, B.A., Church, S.E., Harper, D.D., and Brumbaugh, W.G., 2007,
metals in water, sediment, biofilm, benthic macroinvertebrates, and fish in the Boulder River Watershed, Montana, and the
role of colloids in metal uptake: Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, v. 52, no. 3, p. 397-409,
Harvey, R.W., Harms, H., and Landkamer, L., 2007,
Transport of microorganisms in the terrestrial subsurface--In
situ and laboratory methods, in Hurst, C.J., and others, eds., Manual of Environmental Microbiology (3rd ed.):
Washington, D.C., ASM Press, v. VI.
May, T.W., Wakteher, M.J., and Brumbaugh, W.G., 2007, Selenium concentrations in irrigation drain
inflows to the Salton Sea, California, October 2006 and January 2007: U.S. Geological survey Open-File Report 2007-1113,
Robinson, G.R., and Ayotte, J.D., 2007, Rock-bound arsenic
influences ground water and sediment chemistry throughout New England: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2007-1119,
Robinson, G.R., Larkins, P., Boughton, C.J., Reed, B.W., and Sibrell, P.L., 2007,
Assessment of contamination from arsenical pesticide use on orchards in the great
valley region, Virginia and West Virginia, USA: Journal of Environmental Quality, v. 36, no. 3, p. 654-663,
Vogel, J.R., Stoeckel, D.M., Lamendella, R., Zelt, R.B., Santo Domingo, J.W., Walker, S.R., and Oerther,
D.B., 2007, Identifying fecal sources in a selected
catchment reach using multiple source-tracking tools: Journal of Environmental Quality, v. 36, no. 3, p. 718-729
Compiled and Edited by David W. Morganwalp