National Water Quality Program

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The National Water Quality Program provides an understanding of water-quality conditions; whether conditions are getting better or worse over time; and how natural features and human activities affect those conditions.

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Featured: Potential pesticide toxicity to aquatic life is widespread

Featured: Potential pesticide toxicity to aquatic life is widespread

new USGS study of pesticides in U.S. rivers and streams reports that, on average, 17 pesticides were detected at least once at the 74 river and stream sites sampled 12 to 24 times per year during 2013–2017.

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Featured: Predicting Levels of Cyanotoxins From Real-Time Measurements

Featured: Predicting Levels of Cyanotoxins From Real-Time Measurements

A new study successfully predicts when mixtures of the toxins produced by these blooms in Kabetogama Lake, Voyageurs National Park, will exceed drinking-water guidelines.

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News

Date published: May 24, 2021

Potential toxicity of pesticides to aquatic life in U.S. rivers is widespread

new USGS study of pesticides in U.S. rivers and streams reports that, on average, 17 pesticides were detected at least once at the 74 river and stream sites sampled 12 to 24 times per year during 2013–2017. Herbicides were detected much more frequently than insecticides and fungicides.

Date published: April 27, 2021

3-D Models of High Concentrations of As and Mn in Glacial Aquifer Groundwater

New 3-dimensional models predict where high concentrations of arsenic and manganese are likely to occur in the glacial aquifer system, reports a new study from the U.S. Geological Survey National Water Quality Program. The glacial aquifer system, which underlies parts of 25 states across the northern U.S., supplies groundwater for...

Date published: April 21, 2021

New study predicts levels of algal bloom toxins from readily available measurements

Emerald-green harmful algal blooms have become an all-too-familiar summertime sight in many U.S. lakes and reservoirs. A new study successfully predicts when mixtures of the toxins produced by these blooms in Kabetogama Lake, Voyageurs National Park, will exceed drinking-water guidelines.

Publications

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Year Published: 2021

Groundwater-quality and select quality-control data from the National Water-Quality Assessment Project, January 2017 through December 2019

Groundwater-quality environmental data were collected from 983 wells as part of the National Water-Quality Assessment Project of the U.S. Geological Survey National Water Quality Program and are included in this report. The data were collected from six types of well networks: principal aquifer study networks, which are used to assess the quality...

Kingsbury, James A.; Bexfield, Laura M.; Arnold, Terri; Musgrove, MaryLynn; Erickson, Melinda L.; Degnan, James R.; Tesoriero, Anthony J.; Lindsey, Bruce D.; Belitz, Kenneth
Kingsbury, J.A., Bexfield, L.M., Arnold, T., Musgrove, M., Erickson, M.L., Degnan, J.R., Tesoriero, A.J., Lindsey, B.D., and Belitz, K., 2021, Groundwater-quality and select quality-control data from the National Water-Quality Assessment Project, January 2017 through December 2019: U.S. Geological Survey Data Series 1136, 97 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ds1136.

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Year Published: 2020

Pesticide mixtures show potential toxicity to aquatic life in U.S. streams, water years 2013-2017

During water years (WY) 2013–2017, the U.S. Geological Survey, National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Project, sampled the National Water Quality Network – Rivers and Streams (NWQN) year-round and reported on 221 pesticides at 72 sites across the United States in agricultural, developed, and mixed land use watersheds. The Pesticide Toxicity...

Covert, S. Alex.; Shoda, Megan E.; Stackpoole, Sarah M.; Stone, Wesley W.

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Year Published: 2020

Occurrence and geochemistry of lead-210 and polonium-210 radionuclides in public-drinking-water supplies from principal aquifers of the United States

On the basis of lifetime cancer risks, lead-210 (210Pb) and polonium-210 (210Po) ≥ 1.0 and 0.7 pCi/L (picocuries per liter), respectively, in drinking-water supplies may pose human-health concerns. 210Pb and 210Po were detected at concentrations greater than these thresholds at 3.7 and 1.5%, respectively, of filtered untreated...

Szabo, Zoltan; Stackelberg, Paul; Cravotta, Charles A.