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The Integrated Water Chemistry Assessment Laboratory (IWCAL) conducts world-class research specifically related to the development and application of new analytical and modeling methodologies for the determination of contaminants in water, sediment, and tissue that impact human health and aquatic environments.
The Integrated Water Chemistry Assessment Laboratory (IWCAL) is located in Boulder, Colorado. Our research goals are to:
Our interdisciplinary team integrates hydrological, chemical, and biological analyses, field work, on-site mobile laboratories, and web-accessible, map-based modeling applications to synthesize and interpret the complicated hydrologic and ecological interactions within complex aqueous mixtures. We have special emphasis on assessing water quality, water uses, and water suitability for human and ecological needs through identification and investigation of stressors, stressor sources, controlling processes, exposure effects, along with our measurement science data being used to calibrate and validate hydrologic models. Our research-to-operations (R2O) approach delivers foundational science data and decision-support tools for the USGS, Department of Interior, and water resource managers related to water reclamation and reuse, water infrastructure or technology improvements, and the real and perceived adverse effects to water quality and biological health connected to anthropogenic chemicals in the aqueous environments, such as pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) and per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), and natural disasters like wildfire and flooding.
The tools developed by IWCAL support decisions made by water and land resource managers to investigate water quality and water availability stressors, their sources and socioeconomic drivers, and to evaluate both the adverse and beneficial impacts associated with water reuse, chemical spills, infrastructure, and management practices (mitigation, treatment, agriculture applications, etc.). Our measurement data and assessment tools are applicable to USGS Water Resources Mission Area programs including Integrated Water Availability Assessments (IWAAs) and Next Generation Water Observing System (NGWOS). They also support mission-critical programs at USGS Water Science Centers (WSCs) and other Mission Areas including Environmental Health, Ecosystems, and Land Resources. For example, IWCAL, in partnership with the Virginia and West Virginia WSC, has utilized modeling, measurement science, and GIS data to develop a web-based mapping tool to estimate accumulated wastewater ratios in stream reaches and predict environmental concentrations of over 60 organic constituents, including PFAS, carbamazepine, estrone, atrazine, and other biologically active chemicals found in consumer products, pharmaceuticals, and pesticides.
Affiliate team members on specific projects: