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: 96
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: September 24, 2019
Status: Active

Search for New York Water Science Center Projects by County

Search for NYWSC projects by county name.

Contacts: Gary Wall
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...

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 106,500-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: May 4, 2018
Status: Active

Long-term trends in Rainbow Trout growth and naturalized populations in the Ashokan Basin

Background: Rainbow Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) have thrived in the Esopus Creek since their introduction in the 1880s. The construction of the Ashokan Reservoir in 1915 changed the fishery by providing a stable lentic environment where adult trout could grow large and find refuge during periods when stream conditions become stressful. Although many adult Rainbow Trout spend time in the...