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: May 19, 2017
Status: Completed

Two Scientists Receive Early Career Excellence in Leadership Award

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) 2016 Early Career Excellence in Leadership Award was given to Dr. Denise M. Akob and Dr. Karl B. Haase. Drs. Akob and Haase have demonstrated outstanding leadership through their scientific accomplishments and service to the USGS.

Date published: May 3, 2017
Status: Completed

Human and Bovine Virus Prevalence in Some Great Lakes Tributaries Influenced by Watershed-Specific and Seasonal Characteristics

Human enteric and bovine-specific viruses were detected in eight Great Lakes tributaries. Presence and concentration of human viruses increased in watersheds with greater than 25 percent urban influence and more than 2,900 people per square kilometer. Similarly, bovine viruses increased in watersheds having greater than 40 percent agricultural land influence and cattle densities greater than...

Contacts: Peter L Lenaker
Date published: April 12, 2017
Status: Completed

Trace Levels of Organic Chemicals Limited to Local Reaches of a Stream near an Oil and Gas Wastewater Disposal Facility

Organic contaminants that were present in Wolf Creek near a wastewater disposal facility were not evident farther downstream where Wolf Creek enters the New River. Wolf Creek and the New River are used for drinking water and recreational purposes.

Date published: April 12, 2017
Status: Completed

Study Highlights the Complexity of Chemical Mixtures in United States Streams

A new study highlights the complexity of chemical mixtures in streams and advances the understanding of wildlife and human exposure to complex chemical mixtures.

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

Poly- and Perfluoroalkyl Substances From Firefighting and Domestic Wastewater Remain in Groundwater for Decades

New study explores the persistence and transport of poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) that originated from both firefighting and domestic wastewater sources. Although the fire training area and wastewater facility were decommissioned over 20 years ago, both sites continue to be sources of PFASs to groundwater.

Date published: April 3, 2017
Status: Completed

Understanding Chemical and Microbial Contaminants in Public Drinking Water

Collaborative joint agency study provides nationally consistent and rigorously quality-assured datasets on a wide range of chemical and microbial contaminants present in source and treated public drinking water supplies. Tap water was not analyzed in this study.

Date published: March 29, 2017
Status: Completed

Scientists Start at the Base of the Food Chain to Understand Contaminant Affects on Energy Cycling in Streams

Study examines the potential adverse effects of fungicides on leaf decomposition by microbes and aquatic invertebrates.

Date published: March 6, 2017
Status: Completed

USGS Scientist Receives Award for Assistance with National Wetlands Assessment

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientist Dr. Keith A. Loftin received the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Water's Achievement in Science and Technology Award for his contributions to the National Wetlands Condition Assessment.

Date published: February 24, 2017
Status: Completed

Examining Shifts in Stream Microbial Communities Exposed to Oil and Gas Wastewaters

Shifts in the overall microbial community structure were present in stream sediments that contained chemicals associated with unconventional oil and gas wastewaters. This work is part of a long-term study designed to understand persistence of chemicals from oil and gas wastewaters in sediments and water and how those factors might be related to exposures and adverse health effects, if any, on...

Date published: February 23, 2017
Status: Completed

Nitrate Addition Enhances Arsenic Immobilization in Groundwater

The addition of nitrate in a low oxygen groundwater resulted in the immobilization of naturally occurring dissolved arsenic and the conversion of nitrate to innocuous nitrogen gas.

Date published: January 11, 2017
Status: Completed

Understanding Pathways of Unconventional Oil and Gas Produced Water Spills in the Environment

A new study measures the transport of chemicals associated with unconventional oil and gas (UOG) produced waters downstream from a pipeline leak in North Dakota. This work is part of a long-term study designed to understand chemical persistence in sediments and water and how those factors might be related to contaminant exposures and associated with adverse health effects, if any, on organisms...

Date published: November 21, 2016
Status: Completed

New Study Measures Crop Bactericide, Nitrapyrin, in Iowa Streams

First-ever reconnaissance study documents the off-field transport of nitrapyrin — a nitrification inhibitor applied with fertilizers as a bactericide to kill natural soil bacteria for the purpose of increasing crop yields — to adjacent streams. This study is the first step in understanding the transport, occurrence, and potential effects of nitrapyrin or similar compounds on nitrogen...