Toxic Substances Hydrology Program

Featured Science Activities

Our science is summarized in a series of feature articles that highlight recent U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) environmental health science activities. They are short summaries of peer-reviewed journal articles and USGS reports co-authored by our specialized teams of scientists.
 

Filter Total Items: 100
Date published: October 18, 2017
Status: Completed

Optimized Approaches Coupled with Interactive Mapping Application Provide a Tool to Visualize the Occurrence of Soil Pathogens

Scientists optimized existing methods to collect and identify microorganisms including Bacillus anthracis, a pathogenic microorganism, in 4,800 soil samples across the United States, and developed a geographic information system (GIS)-based application to visualize microorganism occurrence throughout the United States.

Contacts: Dale Griffin
Date published: October 17, 2017
Status: Completed

Comparison of Predicted and Measured Pharmaceutical Concentrations in Rivers

New study evaluated if predicted environmental concentrations (PECs) of pharmaceuticals (based on pharmaceutical usage data, degree of metabolism in humans, removal in wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs), and environmental dilution), reflect actual measured environmental concentrations (MECs) in two rivers of different sizes and demographics.

Contacts: Dana W Kolpin
Date published: October 13, 2017
Status: Active

Occurrence of Avian Influenza Virus in Groundwater—Study Provides Baseline Data and Informs Future Studies

This pilot study provided baseline data on avian influenza virus (AIV) occurrence in groundwater underlying poultry farms and documented the challenges for conducting a pathogen transport study during a disease outbreak.

 

Contacts: Laura E Hubbard, Dana W Kolpin, Mark A. Borchardt
Date published: October 12, 2017
Status: Completed

Sources of Contaminants to Congaree National Park—USGS and National Park Service Working Together

A National Park Service (NPS) and U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) study determined the concentrations, potential for degradation, and potential for aquatic and terrestrial animal exposure to organic contaminants in water and sediment within the flood-plain/aquatic environments of Congaree National Park which is located downstream from urban and...

Contacts: Paul M Bradley
Date published: October 12, 2017
Status: Completed

New Method Developed to Quantify Spatial Extent of Cyanobacterial Blooms

This study provides a method for quantifying changes in the spatial extent of cyanobacterial blooms at local and regional scales using remotely sensed data to determine if bloom occurrence and size are increasing or decreasing for inland water resources.

 

Contacts: Keith A Loftin, Ph.D., Blake Schaeffer
Date published: August 2, 2017
Status: Completed

Enhancement of Trichloroethene (TCE) Biodegradation in a Simulated Groundwater System

This laboratory-based study provides information for understanding enhancement of trichloroethene (TCE) biodegradation in a simulated groundwater system.

Contacts: Ronald Oremland
Date published: August 2, 2017
Status: Completed

Commonly Used Chemicals Transported to Agricultural Field through Municipal Biosolids Application

Commonly used chemicals (including fragrances, detergents, fire retardants, plasticizers, and antibacterials) transferred to wastewater treatment plants were detected in municipal wastewater biosolids applied to agricultural field plots and subsequently detected in the runoff transported from the plots during precipitation events.

Date published: July 13, 2017
Status: Completed

Multi-State Survey Measures Parabens in Municipal Wastewater Biosolids

This study provides new information about the composition and concentrations of 5 parabens—preservatives in pharmaceuticals and personal care products—present in biosolids collected from 14 municipal wastewater treatment plants across the United States.

Date published: June 19, 2017
Status: Completed

Satellite Imagery Used to Measure Algal Bloom Frequency—Steps Toward Understanding Exposure Risk

Study explores the utility and limitations of currently available remotely sensed satellite data for identifying the frequency of algal blooms in the Nation's lakes and reservoirs. This information provides a first step toward the goal of understanding exposure risk to protect the health of humans, pets, livestock, and wildlife.

Date published: June 14, 2017
Status: Completed

Cyanobacteria from 2016 Lake Okeechobee Harmful Algal Bloom Photo-Documented

New report provides photographic documentation and identification of the cyanobacteria present in Lake Okeechobee, the Caloosahatchee River, and St. Lucie Canal during an extensive algal bloom in 2016.

Date published: June 13, 2017
Status: Completed

Evaluating Linkages Between Algal Toxins and Human Health

The amino acid β-methylamino-L-alanine (BMAA) is produced by cyanobacteria and has been suggested by human health researchers as a causal factor for degenerative neurological diseases such as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), Parkinsonism, and dementia. An objective review concluded that this hypothesis is not supported by existing data.

Date published: June 9, 2017
Status: Completed

Program Scientist Receives Meritorious Service Award

Dr. Isabelle M. Cozzarelli received the U.S. Department of Interior's second highest honorary award—the Meritorious Service Award—for her numerous contributions to understanding the biogeochemical controls of contaminant degradation in groundwater and near-surface environments.