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: 64
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...

Date published: October 10, 2018
Status: Active

Hydrogeologic and Geochemical Assessment of the Effects of Leakage from the Catskill and Delaware Aqueducts on the Local Bedrock and Overburden Aquifers in Southeastern New York

PROBLEM As part of an effort to sustain a viable water-supply system for 8 million residents in New York City, and 1 million other residents in upstate New York that rely on City water, the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (NYCDEP) has requested a multi-disciplinary study by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to determine the source(s) of water to surface-water sites (...

Date published: May 14, 2018
Status: Active

Hydrologic Monitoring in the Central Pine Barrens

The Long Island Central Pine Barrens (CPB) is a large, preserved region of pristine ecological habitat located in eastern parts of Suffolk County, Long Island, NY. The 105,000-acre CPB encompasses portions of the Towns of Brookhaven, Riverhead, and Southampton, and is a core part of the larger Long Island Pine Barrens Maritime Reserve (fig. 1). The CPB overlies portions of Long Island’s...

Contacts: Irene J Fisher
Date published: April 19, 2018
Status: Active

Current Water Conditions in New York

• National Water Information System (NWIS):   Find water-resources data collected at approximately 1.5 million sites, using menu-based and map-based front ends.
• WaterWatch:  View maps, graphs, and tables describing real-time, recent, and past streamflow conditions for the United States. 

Date published: March 21, 2018
Status: Active

Assessment of pathogen sources to Hook Pond, East Hampton, New York

Background In order to help identify sources of high Enterococci concentrations identified by the Village of East Hampton and the Surfrider Foundation’s water-quality sampling upstream of Hook Pond, surface water and groundwater samples will be collected and analyzed for F+-specific coliphage, bacteroides, Enterococci and fecal coliform, and nitrogen isotopes. Potential sources of pathogens...

Contacts: Shawn C Fisher
Date published: March 21, 2018
Status: Active

Assessment of the Water Quality of Hook Pond, East Hampton, New York

PROBLEM Hook Pond, an 83-acre freshwater pond in East Hampton, N.Y., has historically shown indications of impaired water quality. Impairments in this shallow pond include elevated nutrient concentrations and low dissolved oxygen concentrations in bottom waters as a result of current and historical land-use practices (Lombardo, 2015). Recent (2016) harmful algal blooms in Hook Pond and other...

Contacts: Shawn C Fisher
Date published: January 26, 2018
Status: Active

Ambient Groundwater Quality Monitoring in New York

Relatively little data describing the quality of groundwater in New York State exist, yet groundwater is used as a source of drinking water by approximately one quarter of the population of the state. The objective of the 305(b) groundwater quality monitoring project is to quantify and report on ambient groundwater quality from bedrock and glacial-drift aquifers in upstate New York.


Date published: October 24, 2017
Status: Completed

Sentinel Monitoring of Groundwater for Contaminants of Emerging Concern to Provide Advanced Warning for Supply Wells on Long Island, New York

Problem The groundwater supply of Nassau and Suffolk Counties is prone to contamination from past and current land uses, including practices related to agriculture, industry, and residential development, because the soils and underlying sediments are generally composed of sandy, permeable materials that allow contaminants to move readily from the land surface into the groundwater below. Of...

Date published: October 19, 2017
Status: Active

A Comprehensive Water Resources Monitoring Program for the Central Pine Barrens Region, Suffolk County, New York

Problem Statement The sustainability of natural resources in the Pine Barrens region of Suffolk County, N.Y., is a concern for the Central Pine Barrens (CPB) Joint Planning and Policy Commission. The effects of development within and surrounding the Pine Barrens region present a risk to the quality and quantity of ground and surface water in this sensitive ecosystem. Development in the area...

Date published: August 29, 2017
Status: Active

Mohawk River Basin Water Quality

Elevated levels of nutrients (for example, phosphorus) in the Mohawk River can lead to eutrophication and potentially toxic blue-green algal blooms. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) collected nutrient samples and measured streamflow in the Mohawk River. These data are being used to develop a water-quality...

Date published: July 4, 2017
Status: Active

Groundwater Sample Collection Methods

Collecting groundwater samples from a typical homeowner well...

Date published: June 9, 2017
Status: Active

Responses of fish assemblages to changing environmental conditions in the Neversink River and Rondout Creek

Problem The Neversink River and Rondout Creek are historic trout fishing and recreational streams in the heart of the Catskill Mountains of southeastern NY. Waters throughout upper reaches of both rivers currently range from neutral to severely acidic due to deposition of acid rain throughout their watersheds. Fish surveys conducted by the USGS during the late 1980s and early 1990s found that...