Environmental Quality and Contaminants
Floodwaters and inundation in urban environments have the potential to introduce and expose coastal and aquatic environments to chemical and microbial contaminants. Potential contaminant sources include debris, combined sewer overflows and inundated infrastructure such as gas station, landfills, chemical storage facilities, hazardous waste sites and saltwater intrusion. USGS scientists measure, monitor and characterize the persisting risk of exposure to both human and ecological systems in the built environment as well as in natural areas. Research includes characterizing these storm-released contaminants and water-quality changes as well as understanding how these contaminants accumulate in sediments or what conditions cause them to persist, move and further impact ecosystem health.