Toxic Substances Hydrology Program

Featured Science Activities

Our science activities are 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.
Older featured science activities are on our old Web site.

Filter Total Items: 90
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.

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.