Toxic Substances Hydrology Program

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GeoHEALTH-USGS Newsletter

GeoHEALTH-USGS Newsletter

The GeoHEALTH-USGS Newsletter provides information on new USGS science activities related to safeguarding the health of fish, wildlife, domesticated animals, livestock, and people from environmental exposures to contaminants and pathogens.

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Featured Science Activities

Featured Science Activities

Lean about our Featured Science Activities through our pages that highlight recience studies, publications, and results.

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Filter Total Items: 2,435
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Year Published: 2017

Future research needs involving pathogens in groundwater

Contamination of groundwater by enteric pathogens has commonly been associated with disease outbreaks. Proper management and treatment of pathogen sources are important prerequisites for preventing groundwater contamination. However, non-point sources of pathogen contamination are frequently difficult to identify, and existing approaches for...

Bradford, Scott A.; Harvey, Ronald W.
Bradford, S. A., Harvey, R. W.,2016, Future research needs involving pathogens in groundwater: Hydrology Journal, doi: 10.1007/s10040-016-1501-0

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Year Published: 2017

Density-driven free-convection model for isotopically fractionated geogenic nitrate in sabkha brine

Subsurface brines with high nitrate (NO3−) concentration are common in desert environments as atmospheric nitrogen is concentrated by the evaporation of precipitation and little nitrogen uptake. However, in addition to having an elevated mean concentration of ∼525 mg/L (as N), NO3− in the coastal sabkhas of Abu Dhabi is enriched in 15N (mean δ15N...

Wood, Warren W.; Böhlke, John K.
Wood, W.W., and Böhlke, J.K., 2017, Density-driven free-convection model for isotopically fractionated geogenic nitrate in sabkha brine. Groundwater, v. 55(2), p. 199-207, doi: 10.1111/gwat.12463

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Year Published: 2017

Geochemistry and hydrology of perched groundwater springs: assessing elevated uranium concentrations at Pigeon Spring relative to nearby Pigeon Mine, Arizona (USA)

The processes that affect water chemistry as the water flows from recharge areas through breccia-pipe uranium deposits in the Grand Canyon region of the southwestern United States are not well understood. Pigeon Spring had elevated uranium in 1982 (44 μg/L), compared to other perched springs (2.7–18 μg/L), prior to mining operations at the nearby...

Beisner, Kimberly R.; Paretti, Nicholas V.; Tillman, Fred; Naftz, David L.; Bills, Donald; Walton-Day, Katie; Gallegos, Tanya J.
Beisner, K.R., Paretti, N.V., Tillman, F.D., Naftz, D.L., Bills, D.J., Walton-Day, K., and Gallegos, T.J., 2017, Geochemistry and hydrology of perched groundwater springs: assessing elevated uranium concentrations at Pigeon Spring relative to nearby Pigeon Mine, Arizona (USA), Hydrogeology Journal, vol. 25, issue 2, p. 539-556.

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Year Published: 2017

Improved vertical streambed flux estimation using multiple diurnal temperature methods in series

Analytical solutions that use diurnal temperature signals to estimate vertical fluxes between groundwater and surface water based on either amplitude ratios (Ar) or phase shifts (Δϕ) produce results that rarely agree. Analytical solutions that simultaneously utilize Ar and Δϕ within a single solution have more recently been derived, decreasing...

Irvine, Dylan J.; Briggs, Martin A.; Cartwright, Ian; Scruggs, Courtney R.; Lautz, Laura K.
Irvine, D.J., M.A. Briggs, I. Cartwright, C. Scruggs, and L.K. Lautz (2016), Improved vertical streambed flux estimation using multiple diurnal temperature methods in series, Groundwater, 55(1), doi:10.1111/gwat.12436

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Year Published: 2016

The removal kinetics of dissolved organic matter and the optical clarity of groundwater

Concentrations of dissolved organic matter (DOM) and ultraviolet/visible light absorbance decrease systematically as groundwater moves through the unsaturated zones overlying aquifers and along flowpaths within aquifers. These changes occur over distances of tens of meters (m) implying rapid removal kinetics of the chromophoric DOM that imparts...

Chapelle, Francis H.; Shen, Yuan; Strom, Eric W.; Benner, Ronald

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Year Published: 2016

Investigating dynamic sources of pharmaceuticals: Demographic and seasonal use are more important than down-the-drain disposal in wastewater effluent in a University City setting

Pharmaceutical pollution in surface waters poses risks to human and ecosystem health. Wastewater treatment facilities are primary sources of pharmaceutical pollutants, but little is known about the factors that affect drugs entering the wastewater stream. This paper investigates the effects of student pharmaceutical use and disposal behaviors and...

Vatovec, Christine; Phillips, Patrick J.; Van Wagoner, Emily; Scott, Tia-Marie; Furlong, Edward T.
Vatovec, C., Phillips, P., Van Wagoner, E., Scott, T-M., and Furlong, E., 2016, Investigating dynamic sources of pharmaceuticals: Demographic and seasonal use are more important than down-the-drain disposal in wastewater effluent in a University City setting, Science of The Total Environment, Volume 572: 906-914.

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Year Published: 2016

Effects of flow regime on metal concentrations and the attainment of water quality standards in a remediated stream reach, Butte, Montana

Low-flow synoptic sampling campaigns are often used as the primary tool to characterize watersheds affected by mining. Although such campaigns are an invaluable part of site characterization, investigations which focus solely on low-flow conditions may yield misleading results. The objective of this paper is to demonstrate this point and elucidate...

Runkel, Robert L.; Kimball, Briant A.; Nimick, David A.; Walton-Day, Katherine

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Year Published: 2016

Exposure to the contraceptive progestin, gestodene, alters reproductive behavior, arrests egg deposition, and masculinizes development in the fathead minnow (Pimephales promelas)

Endogenous progestogens and pharmaceutical progestins enter the environment through wastewater treatment plant effluent and agricultural field runoff. Lab studies demonstrate strong, negative exposure effects of these chemicals on aquatic vertebrate reproduction. Behavior can be a sensitive, early indicator of exposure to environmental...

Frankel, Tyler E.; Meyer, Michael T.; Kolpin, Dana W.; Gillis, Amanda B.; Alvarez, David A.; Orlando, Edward F.

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Year Published: 2016

Molecular-level evidence provided by ultrahigh resolution mass spectrometry for oil-derived doc in groundwater at Bemidji, Minnesota

Dissolved organic matter samples extracted from ground water at the USGS Bemidji oil spill site in Minnesota were investigated by ultrahigh resolution mass spectrometry. Principle component analysis (PCA) of the elemental composition assignments of the samples showed that the score plots for the contaminated sites were well separated from those...

Islam, Ananna; Ahmed, Arif; Hur, Manhoi; Thorn, Kevin A.; Kim, Sunghwan
Islam, A., Ahmed, A., Hur, M., Thorn, K., and Kim, S., 2016, Molecular-Level Evidence Provided by Ultrahigh Resolution Mass Spectrometry for Oil-Derived DOC in Groundwater at Bemidji, Minnesota: Journal of Hazardous Materials, 320, doi:10.1016/j.jhazmat.2016.08.018

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Year Published: 2016

Application of frequency- and time-domain electromagnetic surveys to characterize hydrostratigraphy and landfill construction at the Amargosa Desert Research Site, Beatty, Nevada

In 2014 and 2015, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), conducted frequency-domain electromagnetic (FDEM) surveys at the USGS Amargosa Desert Research Site (ADRS), approximately 17 kilometers (km) south of Beatty, Nevada. The FDEM surveys were conducted within and adjacent to a closed low-level radioactive waste disposal site located at the ADRS....

White, Eric A.; Day-Lewis, Frederick D.; Johnson, Carole D.; Lane, John W.

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Year Published: 2016

Enabling science support for better decision-making when responding to chemical spills

Chemical spills and accidents contaminate the environment and disrupt societies and economies around the globe. In the United States there were approximately 172,000 chemical spills that affected US waterbodies from 2004 to 2014. More than 8000 of these spills involved non–petroleum-related chemicals. Traditional emergency responses or incident...

Weidhass, Jennifer L.; Dietrich, Andrea M.; DeYonker, Nathan J.; Dupont, R. Ryan; Foreman, William T. ; Gallagher, Daniel; Gallagher, Jennifer E. G.; Whelton, Andrew J.; Alexander, William
Weidhaas, J.L., Dietrich, A.M., DeYonker, N.J., Ryan Dupont, R., Foreman, W.T., Gallagher, D., Gallagher, J.E.G., Whelton, A.J., and Alexander, W.A., 2016, Enabling science support for better decision-making when responding to chemical spills: Journal of Environmental Quality, v. 45, no. 5, p. 1490-1500; http://dx.doi.org/10.2134/jeq2016.03.0090.

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Year Published: 2016

Environmental implications of the use of sulfidic back-bay sediments for dune reconstruction — Lessons learned post Hurricane Sandy

Some barrier-island dunes damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Sandy's storm surges in October 2012 have been reconstructed using sediments dredged from back bays. These sand-, clay-, and iron sulfide-rich sediments were used to make berm-like cores for the reconstructed dunes, which were then covered by beach sand. In November 2013, we sampled and...

Plumlee, Geoffrey S.; Benzel, William M.; Hoefen, Todd M.; Hageman, Philip L.; Morman, Suzette A.; Reilly, Timothy J.; Adams, Monique; Berry, Cyrus J.; Fischer, Jeffrey; Fisher, Irene