MD-DE-DC WSC Water Quality Capabilities

Hydrogeology and Shallow Groundwater Quality in Tidal Anacostia River

Hydrogeology and Shallow Groundwater Quality in Tidal Anacostia River

The quality of groundwater within the tidal Anacostia River watershed of Washington, D.C. are related to natural and human influences. The flow and interaction of shallow groundwater is affected by human activities in this highly urbanized area.

see SIR 2019-5128

Hydrologic Study at Farm Creek Marsh, Dorchester County Maryland

Hydrologic Study at Farm Creek Marsh, Dorchester County Maryland

In 2015, the USGS began a 1-year study to investigate the extent and cause of inundation at Farm Creek Marsh. The combination of water-quality, hydrologic, and soils data show inundation is caused by tide and storm events rather groundwater discharge

see SIR 2019-5032

Spatial and Temporal BMP Patterns in Chesapeake Watershed

Spatial and Temporal BMP Patterns in Chesapeake Watershed

Spatial and temporal patterns of BMP implementation across the Chesapeake Bay watershed from 1985 through 2014. Methods to estimate BMP on nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment loads are described and individual BMP types on nutrient loads is estimated.

see SIR 2018-5157

Science Center Objects

Water quality is a measure of the suitability of water for a particular use based on selected physical, chemical, and biological characteristics. Water-quality monitoring is used to help water-resource managers understand and avert potential negative effects of man-made and natural stresses on water resources, evaluate trends, and compare to water-quality criteria.

One of our primary functions at the MD-DE-DC Water Science Center is to collect and analyze water to assess human and natural impacts on aquatic environments. Automated continuous and distinct data collection methods are used to assess the quality of our water; whether conditions are getting better or worse over time; and how natural features and human activities affect those conditions.

As one of our key functions, we consistently monitor the quality of groundwater, surface water, and aquatic ecosystems in Maryland, Delaware, and the District of Columbia, using USGS protocols, employing ultra-clean techniques with a strong attention to data accuracy and precision.

Chemical and biological constituents include nutrients, trace metals, bacteria, suspended sediment, major ions, and organic wastewater compounds such as pharmaceuticals, personal-care products, and industrial compounds. For selected sites, continuous data sets exist for up to 40 years. The Water Quality capabilities team is in pursuit of precise continuous water quality monitoring for physical conditions including water temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen, conductivity, and turbidity. New technology has enhanced realtime-data collection with measurements of nitrate and fluorescent dissolved organic matter (FDOM).

As a leader in water quality investigations, the MD-DE-DC WSC conducts interpretive studies that combine discrete and continuous water quality data to model stream processes and impacts from land use and climate change. Continuous data are also used to compute and assess status, trends, yields, and loads for nutrients and sediment. These data can be evaluated to rapidly alert public-water suppliers of events that may adversely affect water supplies.