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Contaminants and Pathogens

While the Upper Midwest Water Science Center investigates a wide variety of factors affecting water quality, there are some issues that need particular focus due to their potential to enter the environment and cause known or suspected adverse ecological and/or human health effects. They originate from a wide variety of sources and causes, including industry, agriculture, urbanization, human and animal waste, and nature itself. They may be found in high quantities and cause immediate effects, or occur in very low quantities that only cause problems after long-term exposure. They may even be safe and beneficial at lower amounts, but harmful when overused. This group of projects addresses current water-quality issues that are causing concern among water-resource managers and the public, such as chemical pollutants, human and animal pathogens, and the biological effects of chemical and biological contaminants on natural ecosystems.

Filter Total Items: 41

Mixtures of Algal Toxins Present Prior to and After Formation of Visible Algal Blooms—Science to Inform the Timing of Algal Toxin Exposure

Cyanobacteria with toxin-producing potential, genes indicating an ability for toxin synthesis, or cyanotoxins were present before and after formation of a visible algal bloom in Kabetogama Lake, a popular recreation area in Voyageurs National Park that lies along the border of Minnesota and Canada. The temporal patterns observed in this study indicate that sampling only when there is a visible...
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Mixtures of Algal Toxins Present Prior to and After Formation of Visible Algal Blooms—Science to Inform the Timing of Algal Toxin Exposure

Cyanobacteria with toxin-producing potential, genes indicating an ability for toxin synthesis, or cyanotoxins were present before and after formation of a visible algal bloom in Kabetogama Lake, a popular recreation area in Voyageurs National Park that lies along the border of Minnesota and Canada. The temporal patterns observed in this study indicate that sampling only when there is a visible...
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Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) Watercourse Corridor Study

Since 2000, the USGS and MMSD have been partners in the Milwaukee Area Watercourse Corridor Study. The USGS applied a multi-disciplinary approach to monitor and assess stream water quality within studies of aquatic communities, geomorphology and habitat, water and sediment, and streamflow. Results are provided to MMSD and watershed management agencies for planning and decision-making.
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Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) Watercourse Corridor Study

Since 2000, the USGS and MMSD have been partners in the Milwaukee Area Watercourse Corridor Study. The USGS applied a multi-disciplinary approach to monitor and assess stream water quality within studies of aquatic communities, geomorphology and habitat, water and sediment, and streamflow. Results are provided to MMSD and watershed management agencies for planning and decision-making.
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Mercury studies

The USGS Mercury Research Lab is a national leader in advancing mercury research and science, specializing in low-level mercury speciation and isotope analysis and mercury-source fingerprinting. The MRL leads national cutting-edge collaborative studies, including state-of-the-art sample analysis, methods development for field and lab procedures, and data interpretation and dissemination.
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Mercury studies

The USGS Mercury Research Lab is a national leader in advancing mercury research and science, specializing in low-level mercury speciation and isotope analysis and mercury-source fingerprinting. The MRL leads national cutting-edge collaborative studies, including state-of-the-art sample analysis, methods development for field and lab procedures, and data interpretation and dissemination.
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Chemicals of Concern in the Great Lakes Basin

The Great Lakes are an important freshwater source of drinking water, fisheries, and habitat. Chemicals of concern are introduced to the environment by human activities, but resulting ecological consequences are little understood. With federal and University partners, we are characterizing the presence of contaminants and potential effects to fish in Great Lakes tributaries.
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Chemicals of Concern in the Great Lakes Basin

The Great Lakes are an important freshwater source of drinking water, fisheries, and habitat. Chemicals of concern are introduced to the environment by human activities, but resulting ecological consequences are little understood. With federal and University partners, we are characterizing the presence of contaminants and potential effects to fish in Great Lakes tributaries.
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Bacterial Pathogens

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Michigan Bacteriological Research Laboratory (MI-BaRL) studies the source, occurrence, and distribution of the bacterial pathogens Shiga-toxin producing E. coli (STEC), Salmonella, Shigella, Campylobacter, Enterococcus, and Staphylococcus and the relation of occurrence of pathogens with fecal indicator bacteria, land-use, season, hydrology, geology, weather...
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Bacterial Pathogens

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Michigan Bacteriological Research Laboratory (MI-BaRL) studies the source, occurrence, and distribution of the bacterial pathogens Shiga-toxin producing E. coli (STEC), Salmonella, Shigella, Campylobacter, Enterococcus, and Staphylococcus and the relation of occurrence of pathogens with fecal indicator bacteria, land-use, season, hydrology, geology, weather...
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Enhance Great Lakes Beach Recreational Water Quality Decision Making

Important questions about beach closures and management remain unanswered in the Great Lakes where over 500 beaches are routinely used along the nearly 11,000 miles of coastline. The economies of coastal areas are dependent on public confidence in the quality of water at the shoreline, and beach managers need reliable science-based information to make beach closure and beach management decisions...
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Enhance Great Lakes Beach Recreational Water Quality Decision Making

Important questions about beach closures and management remain unanswered in the Great Lakes where over 500 beaches are routinely used along the nearly 11,000 miles of coastline. The economies of coastal areas are dependent on public confidence in the quality of water at the shoreline, and beach managers need reliable science-based information to make beach closure and beach management decisions...
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Antibiotic Resistance

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Michigan Bacteriological Research Laboratory (MI-BaRL) conducts research on antibiotic-resistant bacteria and their genes. We have concentrated our studies on antibiotic-resistant bacteria of human-health concern, including vancomycin-resistant enterococci, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), and Klebsiella and E. coli resistant to third-generation...
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Antibiotic Resistance

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Michigan Bacteriological Research Laboratory (MI-BaRL) conducts research on antibiotic-resistant bacteria and their genes. We have concentrated our studies on antibiotic-resistant bacteria of human-health concern, including vancomycin-resistant enterococci, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), and Klebsiella and E. coli resistant to third-generation...
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Using optical sensors to detect sewage contamination in the Great Lakes

In the Great Lakes, large volumes of sewage never make it to wastewater treatment plants due to illicit discharges and leaking sewer infrastructure, but contamination can be difficult to detect. This study will define the utility and practicality of using optical sensors to identify the sources and timing of sewage contamination in surface water and storm sewers in real-time field settings.
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Using optical sensors to detect sewage contamination in the Great Lakes

In the Great Lakes, large volumes of sewage never make it to wastewater treatment plants due to illicit discharges and leaking sewer infrastructure, but contamination can be difficult to detect. This study will define the utility and practicality of using optical sensors to identify the sources and timing of sewage contamination in surface water and storm sewers in real-time field settings.
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MMSD Watercourse Corridor Study: Ecological Assessments and Trends

Changes in streams that result from urban development such as loss of stream habitat, inadequate or flashy streamflow, and degraded water quality can adversely affect communities of aquatic organisms. MMSD Watercourse Corridor Study ecological assessments evaluate water quality over time by pairing community assessments of aquatic organisms with chemical assessments using passive samplers.
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MMSD Watercourse Corridor Study: Ecological Assessments and Trends

Changes in streams that result from urban development such as loss of stream habitat, inadequate or flashy streamflow, and degraded water quality can adversely affect communities of aquatic organisms. MMSD Watercourse Corridor Study ecological assessments evaluate water quality over time by pairing community assessments of aquatic organisms with chemical assessments using passive samplers.
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MMSD Watercourse Corridor Study: Geomorphology and Sediment Studies Related to Stream and Estuary Rehabilitation

Geomorphology and sediment studies related to stream and estuary rehabilitation consist of four subproject areas: pre- and post-rehabilitation assessments, characterization of stream network-based habitat units for habitat critical to aquatic organisms, characterization of the Milwaukee River estuary, and instream sources of sediment and phosphorus.
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MMSD Watercourse Corridor Study: Geomorphology and Sediment Studies Related to Stream and Estuary Rehabilitation

Geomorphology and sediment studies related to stream and estuary rehabilitation consist of four subproject areas: pre- and post-rehabilitation assessments, characterization of stream network-based habitat units for habitat critical to aquatic organisms, characterization of the Milwaukee River estuary, and instream sources of sediment and phosphorus.
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MMSD Watercourse Corridor Study: Contaminants in Water and Sediment

There are many kinds of chemical, physical, and biological contaminants contained in water and sediment, and new or “emerging” contaminants are continually being discovered. USGS investigations of contaminants in the MMSD Watercourse Corridor Study include studies of PAHs, microplastics, wastewater contamination, waterborne pathogens, as well as modeling long term trends in water quality.
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MMSD Watercourse Corridor Study: Contaminants in Water and Sediment

There are many kinds of chemical, physical, and biological contaminants contained in water and sediment, and new or “emerging” contaminants are continually being discovered. USGS investigations of contaminants in the MMSD Watercourse Corridor Study include studies of PAHs, microplastics, wastewater contamination, waterborne pathogens, as well as modeling long term trends in water quality.
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Isoxaflutole Monitoring

This project is investigating the potential persistence of isoxaflutole, a pesticide, and its metabolites in groundwater and surface water near agricultural fields in Michigan.
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Isoxaflutole Monitoring

This project is investigating the potential persistence of isoxaflutole, a pesticide, and its metabolites in groundwater and surface water near agricultural fields in Michigan.
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