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: 2,733
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Year Published: 2018

Year-round presence of neonicotinoid insecticides in tributaries to the Great Lakes, USA

To better characterize the transport of neonicotinoid insecticides to the world's largest freshwater ecosystem, monthly samples (October 2015–September 2016) were collected from 10 major tributaries to the Great Lakes, USA. For the monthly tributary samples, neonicotinoids were detected in every month sampled and five of the six target...

Hladik, Michelle; Corsi, Steven R.; Kolpin, Dana W.; Baldwin, Austin K.; Blackwell, Brett R.; Cavallin, Jenna E.
Hladik, M.L., Corsi, S.R., Kolpin, D.W., Baldwin, A.K., Blackwell, B.R., Cavallin, J.E., 2018, Perennial presence of neonicotinoid insecticides in tributaries to The Great Lakes, USA, Env. Pollut.

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Year Published: 2018

Regional variability of nitrate fluxes in the unsaturated zone and groundwater, Wisconsin, USA

Process-based modeling of regional NO3− fluxes to groundwater is critical for understanding and managing water quality, but the complexity of NO3− reactive transport processes make implementation a challenge. This study introduces a regional vertical flux method (VFM) for efficient estimation of reactive transport of NO3− in the vadose zone and...

Green, Christopher T.; Liao, Lixia; Nolan, Bernard T.; Juckem, Paul F.; Shope, Christopher L.; Tesoriero, Anthony J.; Jurgens, Bryant C.
Green, C. T., Liao, L., Nolan, B. T., Juckem, P. F., Shope, C. L., Tesoriero, A. J., & Jurgens, B. C. (2018). Regional variability of nitrate fluxes in the unsaturated zone and groundwater, Wisconsin, USA. Water Resources Research, 54. https://doi.org/10.1002/2017WR022012

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Year Published: 2018

Comparison of time nonlocal transport models for characterizing non-Fickian transport: From mathematical interpretation to laboratory application

Non-Fickian diffusion has been increasingly documented in hydrology and modeled by promising time nonlocal transport models. While previous studies showed that most of the time nonlocal models are identical with correlated parameters, fundamental challenges remain in real-world applications regarding model selection and parameter definition. This...

Lu, Bingqing; Zhang, Yong; Zheng, Chunmiao; Green, Christopher T.; O'Neill, Charles; Sun, Hong-Guang; Qian, Jiazhong

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Year Published: 2017

Estimating the high-arsenic domestic-well population in the conterminous United States

Arsenic concentrations from 20 450 domestic wells in the U.S. were used to develop a logistic regression model of the probability of having arsenic >10 μg/L (“high arsenic”), which is presented at the county, state, and national scales. Variables representing geologic sources, geochemical, hydrologic, and physical features were among the...

Ayotte, Joseph D.; Medalie, Laura; Qi, Sharon L.; Backer, Lorraine C.; Nolan, Bernard T.
Ayotte, Joseph D., Medalie, Laura, Qi, Sharon L., Backer, Lorraine C., and Nolan, Bernard T., 2017, Estimating the High-Arsenic Domestic-Well Population in the Conterminous United States. Environmental Science & Technology, DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.7b02881

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Year Published: 2017

Widespread legacy brine contamination from oil production reduces survival of chorus frog larvae

Advances in drilling techniques have facilitated a rapid increase in hydrocarbon extraction from energy shales, including the Williston Basin in central North America. This area overlaps with the Prairie Pothole Region, a region densely populated with wetlands that provide numerous ecosystem services. Historical (legacy) disposal practices often...

Hossack, Blake R.; Puglis, Holly J.; Battaglin, William A.; Anderson, Chauncey W.; Honeycutt, R. Ken; Smalling, Kelly L.
Hossack, B. R., H. J. Puglis, W. A. Battaglin, C. W. Anderson, R. K. Honeycutt, and K. L. Smalling. 2017. Widespread legacy brine contamination from oil production reduces survival of chorus frog larvae. Environmental Pollution 231:742–751.

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Year Published: 2017

Degradation of crude 4-MCHM (4-methylcyclohexanemethanol) in sediments from Elk River, West Virginia

In January 2014, approximately 37 800 L of crude 4-methylcyclohexanemethanol (crude MCHM) spilled into the Elk River, West Virginia. To understand the long-term fate of 4-MCHM, we conducted experiments under environmentally relevant conditions to assess the potential for the 2 primary compounds in crude MCHM (1) to undergo biodegradation and (2)...

Cozzarelli, Isabelle M.; Akob, Denise M.; Baedecker, Mary Jo; Spencer, Tracey; Jaeschke, Jeanne B.; Dunlap, Darren S.; Mumford, Adam C.; Poret-Peterson, Amisha T.; Chambers, Douglas B.
Cozzarelli, I. M., D. M. Akob, M. J. Baedecker, T. Spencer, J. Jaeschke, D. S. Dunlap, A. C. Mumford, A. T. Poret-Peterson, D. B. Chambers. 2017. Degradation of MCHM (4-methylcyclohexanemethanol) in Sediments from Elk River, West Virginia. Environmental Science and Technology, 51(21): 12139-12145.

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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.