Contamination and Pollution

Bioremediation is the process by which microbes (generally bacteria) or plants transform a harmful water contaminant into a non-harmful substance, much as we turn sugar into carbon dioxide and water. Bioremediation can help clean up ground water...
Methane is a gas composed of carbon and hydrogen. It has the chemical formula CH4. Methane originates from several different sources.  Microbial methane is produced through biologic decomposition of organic matter at shallow depths and without extensive...
The U.S. Geological Survey is responsible for providing the reliable and impartial scientific information on geologic and hydrologic processes affecting mineral deposits, mine lands, and water quality.The studies conducted by the USGS benefits agencies...
Methane gas – whether microbial or thermogenic -- can migrate into water wells along with the groundwater if underground conditions are favorable for it. If biogenic or thermogenic methane is present underground and in contact with the groundwater, the...
The concerns about high concentrations of methane in water wells focus on the potential of this colorless and odorless gas to accumulate in confined spaces and act as an asphyxiant or become flammable or explosive in confined spaces containing oxygen and...
USGS has several ongoing efforts to monitor methane in groundwater, we have completed several others, and we are doing basic research into detecting methane in streams as a tool to map methane leaking from underground.
Mine drainage is formed when pyrite, an iron sulfide, is exposed and reacts with air and water to form sulfuric acid and dissolved iron. Some or all of this iron can precipitate to form the red, orange, or yellow sediments in the bottom of streams...
Our USGS Mine Drainage Activities website has a lot of good information on this topic, including links to USGS programs, activities, and featured articles.
Field-study and computer simulation tools developed by a team of U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists were shown to be effective for evaluating strategies to reduce acid mine drainage in streams. The tools were used to estimate post-cleanup water...
Here are some USGS resources on acid mine drainage:USGS Energy Resources Program- Acid Mine DrainageUSGS Mine Drainage ActivitiesUSGS – Evaluating Acid Mine Drainage Cleanup StrategiesU.S. Geological Survey Publications Dealing with Acid Mine Drainage...