Water Science School

Water Quality

What is in that water that you just drank? Is it just hydrogen and oxygen atoms? Is it safe for drinking? All water is of a certain "quality" (and you can't tell by just looking), but what does "water quality" really mean? Water full of dirt and grime might work fine for a tomato plant but would you want to drink it? Water quality can be thought of as a measure of the suitability of water for a particular use based on selected physical, chemical, and biological characteristics

All Water Quality Science Topics

All Water Quality Science Topics

View a list of all of our science topics about water quality.

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Water Quality Data for the Nation

Water Quality Data for the Nation

The USGS National Water Information System (NWIS) contains extensive water-quality data, both real-time and historical, for the nation.

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Filter Total Items: 44
Date published: September 16, 2019
Status: Completed

Water Quality Questions & Answers

What is in that water that you just drank? Is it just hydrogen and oxygen atoms? Is it safe for drinking? All water is of a certain "quality" (and you can't tell by just looking), but what does "water quality" really mean? It can be thought of as a measure of the suitability of water for a particular use based on selected physical, chemical, and biological characteristics. Here at the Water...

Date published: September 11, 2019
Status: Completed

Desalination

Humans cannot drink saline water, but, saline water can be made into freshwater, for which there are many uses. The process is called "desalination", and it is being used more and more around the world to provide people with needed freshwater. 

Date published: July 17, 2019
Status: Completed

The Water Science School -- What We Offer

The U.S. Geological Survey's Water Science School
Where anyone of any age can learn all about water.

Date published: July 5, 2019
Status: Completed

Water Science Photo Galleries

Learn about water using pictures

Date published: June 24, 2019
Status: Completed

Water Q&A: How is sewage and wastewater treated?

Learn about different sewage and wastewater treatment methods.

Date published: June 24, 2019
Status: Completed

Water Q&As: Why does my water smell like rotten eggs?

Learn about the causes of bad-smelling water and what you can do about it.

Date published: June 24, 2019
Status: Completed

Water Q&As: How does our swimming pool stay so clean?

Learn about different methods to keep swimming pool water clean and safe.

Date published: June 20, 2019
Status: Completed

Water Q&A: What causes fish kills?

Find out more about the causes of fish kills, including dissolved oxygen and toxins.

Date published: June 20, 2019
Status: Completed

Water Q&A: Is groundwater always clean?

Learn about groundwater quality and potential contaminants.

Date published: June 20, 2019
Status: Completed

Water Q&A: Where does our home wastewater go?

Learn what happens at a wastewater treatment plant.

Date published: June 20, 2019
Status: Completed

Water Q&A: Is saline water useful?

Water Questions & Answers
Is saline water useful?

Date published: June 20, 2019
Status: Completed

Water Q&A: What water data does the USGS gather?

The USGS collects data about the country's water resources including the quantity and quality of water in our streams, rivers, groundwater, and more.