Virginia and West Virginia Water Science Center

Water Quality

We measure, analyze, and evaluate physical, chemical, biological, and geological interactions in rivers, streams, lakes, groundwater, and ecosystems, providing information essential to human-health and safety, residential, business, transportation, industrial, agricultural, energy, mining, and recreational uses, and our understanding of the natural world.

Filter Total Items: 20
Date published: April 25, 2019
Status: Active

River Continuum Concept Ecological Limit Functions for Fish and Benthic Data in Virginia

The ecological limit functions (ELF) developed in cooperation with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) are a graphical representation of the current and historical state of aquatic biota in Virginia streams.  The goal of this study was to quantify the potential species richness and habitat response to flow alteration using available long-term ecological data. Fish and...

Contacts: Jennifer L Rapp, Robert Burgholzer, Joseph Kleiner
Date published: October 8, 2017
Status: Active

Monitoring High-Priority Stream Crossings Along Proposed Natural Gas Pipeline Routes

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), is monitoring the water quality of multiple high-priority streams where natural gas pipeline crossings have been proposed. The purpose of the monitoring effort is to collect baseline water-quality data and, if the pipeline construction is approved, to monitor water quality in these...

Date published: June 15, 2017
Status: Active

Hydrologic Monitoring and Analysis to Support Water Resource Management in the City of Roanoke

The U.S. Geological Survey, partnering with the City of Roanoke and Virginia Tech, are working to monitor the water volume and quality in streams throughout the City of Roanoke. There are currently six monitoring stations within the city. Water-quality data are collected at five stations through real-time monitors and manual sampling to support the estimation of suspended sediment loads. The...

Contacts: James Webber
Date published: May 1, 2017
Status: Active

GIS-based landscape analysis to identify sources of endocrine disrupting chemicals

A key component to assessing the contaminant exposure pathways in streams and rivers of the Chesapeake Bay is using GIS-based landscape analysis to identify sources of endocrine disrupting chemicals. Municipal and industrial wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) discharges are potentially major sources of EDCs to streams, and therefore understanding the de facto wastewater reuse (represented as...

Date published: September 30, 2016
Status: Active

Appalachian Plateau Groundwater Availablity Study

Pennsylvanian- and Mississippian-age aquifers occupy approximately 86,000 square-miles in the Appalachian Plateaus Physiographic Province of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Alabama. As one of several USGS Regional Groundwater Studies, the primary goal of this study is to provide a regional understanding of groundwater flow and availability in the...

Date published: September 30, 2016
Status: Active

Fairfax County Water Resources Monitoring Network

Hundreds of millions of dollars have been invested into the implementation of Best Management Practices (BMPs), with the explicit goal of improving water quality. Earlier research has demonstrated that these implemented BMPs are effective at the plot-scale and the field-scale; however, less information is available to document the effectiveness of these BMPs at the watershed scale - precisely...

Contacts: John D Jastram
Date published: September 30, 2016
Status: Active

Hydrologic and Water-Quality Factors Affecting Habitat Restoration and Management of the Great Dismal Swamp

The objectives of this study are to identify 1) the relations between water levels in the ditches and groundwater levels near the ditches and in the interior of the Blocks, 2) possible relations between groundwater levels and tree growth rates, and 3) current nutrient chemistry and possible nutrient transport pathways in these wetlands.

Date published: September 30, 2016
Status: Active

Hampton Roads Regional Water Quality Monitoring Program

In 2014, the U.S. Geological Survey partnered with the Hampton Roads Sanitation District (HRSD) in cooperation with the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission to implement a water-quality monitoring program with the goals of (1) collecting high quality nutrient and sediment data representative of the Coastal Plain, (2) computing loads that can be compared to those developed for the...

Contacts: Aaron J Porter
Date published: September 20, 2016
Status: Active

Clinch River Water Quality and Mussel Health

The Clinch and Powell Rivers flowing from southwestern Virginia through parts of East Tennessee (see figure) support unique and nationally significant endemic and endangered populations of fresh-water mussels and other aquatic fauna. Surveys of mussel and fish community structure over past decades have shown a pattern of decline throughout the Powell River and on parts of the upper Clinch that...

Contacts: Jennifer L Rapp
Date published: September 30, 2015
Status: Active

James River Research Corridor: Mountains to Sea Innovative Water Quality Network

This successful partnership brings together Randolph-Macon College (RMC), Washington and Lee University (W&L), and Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), in partnership with the US Geological Survey (USGS) to foster growth in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) through summer student internship experience, awareness of USGS science in the class room, and increased...

Contacts: Jennifer L Rapp, Douglas L Moyer, Dr. Charles Gowan , Dr. Robert Humston, Dr. Paul Bukaveckas , Dr. Greg Garman
Date published: September 30, 2014
Status: Active

Shenandoah River Instream Flow Studies

As urban and rural growth continues, competition for clean water expands into stream areas previously capable of meeting local water-use demands. Conflicts among instream and offstream users of streamflow increase as flows decrease. This research enhances understanding of summer low-flow conditions in the North Fork, South Fork, and Shenandoah Rivers, relating water availability to physical...

Contacts: Jennifer L Rapp
Date published: October 25, 2010

Virginia Chloride Monitoring Network

Objectives of the program are to (1) evaluate the spatial and temporal distribution of chloride concentrations in the aquifers, (2) evaluate the factors that affect the spatial and temporal distributions of chloride, and (3) assess the potential for upconing or lateral intrusion of saline water in the aquifers.