New York Water Science Center

Water Quality

Different uses of water may require a different level of “quality” of water; for example, water that contains dirt and grime might work fine for agricultural uses, but industrial uses and drinking water require a different level of water quality; or water that might be safe to use in industrial and agricultural uses may not be safe to drink or promote healthy ecosystems. The NYWSC collects water-quality data for all water resources and works with the public, government agencies, organizations, and the private sector to identify and understand environmental issues and concerns regarding the quality of water supplies in the Nation and abroad. Water-quality data are then used to determine the health of various ecosystems, including wetlands, urban landscapes, coastal environments, and watersheds. Effects of nutrient and micropollutant loading to watersheds and wetlands, habitat response to changes in infrastructure, wetlands restoration for the effects of treating urban wastewater, and toxicity in waters affected by urban runoff are some of the more recent projects undertaken by the NYWSC with State and local cooperators.

Filter Total Items: 100
Date published: June 3, 2021
Status: Active

Water-Resource and Road-Condition Monitoring of Alternative Treatments for Road Deicing

Introduction The New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) is evaluating alternative treatments for road deicing with the goal of reducing the impact of this activity on the State’s water resources. The NYSDOT has requested support from the U. S. Geological Survey (USGS) in monitoring the effects of these alternative treatments on the water resources. In the past, the USGS has...

Date published: May 28, 2021
Status: Active

Cyanobacterial Occurrence and Bloom Development in Oligotrophic Adirondack Lakes

Problem Harmful algal blooms (HABs) are increasingly a global concern because HABs pose a threat to human and ecosystem health and cause economic damages. HABs are a concern in waterbodies used for drinking-water supply and recreation in New York State. Toxins produced by some species of cyanobacteria (called cyanotoxins) can cause acute and chronic illnesses in humans. Aquatic ecosystem...

Date published: March 18, 2021
Status: Active

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Contacts: Gary Wall
Date published: July 9, 2020
Status: Active

Soil and Low-Ionic-Strength Water Quality Laboratory

The New York Water Science Center of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in Troy, N.Y., operates a state-of-the-science laboratory for the chemical analysis of soil and water.

Date published: February 6, 2020
Status: Active

Assessment of fecal contamination sources to Alley Creek, Queens County, New York

PROBLEM Alley Creek, a tributary to Little Neck Bay (Queens County, New York; figure 1) has been designated as impaired by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC) for primary and secondary contact and included on the 303(d) Impaired Waterways for pathogens related to combined sewer overflow contributions. The New York City Department of Environmental Protection...

Date published: January 9, 2020
Status: Active

Mohawk Microplastics

Problem - Plastic debris pollution in freshwater ecosystems is becoming a major ecosystem and public health concern. Plastic pollution is now identified as the most abundant anthropogenic debris and it is found throughout all marine environments, comprising 60-80% of all floating debris (Eriksen et al., 2013). This debris can have a lasting effect on marine life through ingestion or...

Contacts: Mike Antidormi
Date published: May 24, 2019
Status: Active

Groundwater-Quality of Nassau County, Long Island, New York

Problem Statement There are over 1.3 million residents in Nassau County that rely on groundwater as their sole source of potable drinking water. The mixed land uses (residential, commercial, industrial, agricultural, and recreational) of Nassau County contribute point and non-point sources of aquifer contamination. Nassau County water purveyors currently operate supply wells screened in the...

Contacts: Irene J Fisher
Date published: April 26, 2019
Status: Active

Contaminants in fish tissues from AOCs in New York State: The Niagara River AOC

DEC collaborators collect fish from a Niagara River tributary using an electrofishing boat The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) and Department of Health (NYSDOH), and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) are gathering data on chemical contaminants in fish from multiple Areas of Concern (AOCs) in New York State and plan to use this information to evaluate fish cons...

Date published: April 24, 2019
Status: Active

Upper Esopus Creek Tributary Bedload Pilot Study

Problem Sediment transport is a serious concern in the upper Esopus Creek watershed. The creek is a well-documented source of sediment and turbidity to the Ashokan Reservoir, which is part of the New York City water supply system. During the last 2 decades there has been a series of stream stabilization and sediment reduction projects completed in the upper Esopus Creek watershed intended to...

Date published: February 21, 2019
Status: Active

Surface-water quality in the Lake Erie/Niagara River Basin of New York State

Problem The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) intends to develop a Nine-Element Watershed Plan ( for the Lake Erie/Niagara Basin. To develop the Nine-Element Plan, NYSDEC needs a high quality, quality assured, nutrient-loading dataset to serve as a baseline...

Date published: February 20, 2019
Status: Active

Bathymetry of New York City’s East of Hudson Reservoirs

Background: The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) maintains an extensive network of reservoirs and aqueducts for water collection, storage, and transport; it supplies more than one billion gallons of drinking water daily to more than nine million people. The East of Hudson (EOH) network (fig. 1) includes thirteen reservoirs – Amawalk, Bog Brook, Boyd Corners, Cross...

Date published: October 23, 2018
Status: Active

Harmful Algal Bloom monitoring in the Finger Lakes region, New York

Background: Harmful algal blooms (HABs) are increasingly a global concern because they pose a threat to human and aquatic ecosystem health and cause economic damages. Cyanobacterial HABs (CyanoHABs) represent a substantial threat to drinking-water supplies, aquatic ecosystem health, and safe recreational uses of freshwater resources in New York. Toxins produced by some species of...