Preliminary Research into the Causes of Iron Fouling in Water at Roadway Construction Sites

Science Center Objects

The USGS and the New Hampshire Department of Transportation are conducting preliminary research into the causes of iron fouling in water at roadway construction sites where blasted bedrock is used as on-site fill material.

The USGS and the New Hampshire Department of Transportation are examining the potential for iron fouling of streams and water bodies associated with the use of blasted rock for on-site fill material. As a first step, models predicting the probability of iron precipitation are being developed to identify at-risk areas for iron fouling. Secondarily, field water chemistry data, that are easily obtainable during road construction, are being evaluated to further understand the potential for iron fouling issues. Together, these data will be evaluated for their utility in understanding potential issues with rock-fill before it is used. 

Specifically, this study’s objectives are to:

  • Estimate the probability of having iron precipitation in streams and water bodies under different bedrock geologic and geochemical conditions; and
  • Determine whether the simple field water chemistry measurements can be used to indicate potential iron fouling conditions.