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 Study: Insights into changes in chloride in streams

Featured Study: Insights into changes in chloride in streams

A joint USEPA-USGS study finds that integrating water-quality sampling approaches can provide insight into changing chloride concentrations in U.S. streams and rivers.

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Featured Study: Potential lead solubility in groundwater

Featured Study: Potential lead solubility in groundwater

About one-third of more than 8,300 wells tested across the U.S. had groundwater with chemical characteristics that could cause lead, if present in plumbing, to leach into tap water at levels above the EPA Action Level.

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News

Date published: July 1, 2019

Marcellus Shale natural-gas production not currently causing widespread hydrocarbon contamination of domestic wells that tap shallow upland groundwater

A new USGS study reports that shale-gas production in northern Pennsylvania has not currently caused widespread hydrocarbon contamination in the upland aquifer zone used for domestic supply.

Date published: May 15, 2019

New release: User-friendly Point-Source Load Estimation Tool (PSLoadEsT)

Do you need consistent and reliable data for nutrient concentrations released by point-source dischargers? The USGS has developed a new approach for developing typical pollutant concentrations (TPCs) in the absence of measured total nitrogen (TN) or total phosphorus (TP) concentration data and a new tool, the Point-Source Load Estimation Tool (...

Publications

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Year Published: 2019

Hydrocarbons in upland groundwater, Marcellus Shale Region, Northeastern Pennsylvania and Southern New York, USA

Water samples from 50 domestic wells located <1 km (proximal) and >1 km (distal) from shale-gas wells in upland areas of the Marcellus Shale region were analyzed for chemical, isotopic, and groundwater-age tracers. Uplands were targeted because natural mixing with brine and hydrocarbons from deep formations is less common in those areas...

McMahon, Peter B.; Lindsey, Bruce D.; Conlon, Matthew D.; Hunt, Andrew G.; Belitz, Kenneth; Jurgens, Bryant; Varela, Brian

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Year Published: 2019

Assessing water-quality changes in U.S. rivers at multiple geographic scales using results from probabilistic and targeted monitoring

Two commonly used approaches for water quality monitoring are probabilistic and targeted. In a probabilistic approach like the US Environmental Protection Agency’s National Rivers and Streams Assessment, monitoring sites are selected using a statistically representative approach. In a targeted approach like that used by many monitoring...

Sprague, Lori A.; Mitchell, Richard M; Pollard, Amina I.; Falcone, James A.

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Year Published: 2018

An exploratory Bayesian network for estimating the magnitudes and uncertainties of selected water-quality parameters at streamgage 03374100 White River at Hazleton, Indiana, from partially observed data

An exploratory discrete Bayesian network (BN) was developed to assess the potential of this type of model for estimating the magnitudes and uncertainties of an arbitrary subset of unmeasured water-quality parameters given the measured complement of parameters historically measured at a U.S. Geological Survey streamgage. Water-quality data for 27...

Holtschlag, David J.
Holtschlag, D.J., 2018, An exploratory Bayesian network for estimating the magnitudes and uncertainties of selected water-quality parameters at streamgage 03374100 White River at Hazleton, Indiana, from partially observed data: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2018–5053, 30 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20185053.