National Water Quality Program

News

Filter Total Items: 92
Date published: January 4, 2021

New USGS study identifies key factors affecting nitrate concentrations in stream base flow in Chesapeake Bay watershed

A new USGS study has identified factors that contribute to high nitrate in base flow in streams flowing into Chesapeake Bay. Land use, organic carbon in soils, and geology were among the most important factors affecting nitrate in stream base flow, based on data collected at 156 stream sites.

Date published: December 15, 2020

Pesticides and their degradation products common in groundwater but at low concentrations unlikely to be human-health concern

Thousands of pesticides are used on crops and landscaping, are they in our groundwater? According to a new USGS study, the answer is a qualified yes—some pesticides and the chemical compounds they degrade to are common in groundwater used for public drinking-water supply, but mostly at concentrations well below levels of concern for...

Date published: December 10, 2020

Bakken Shale unconventional oil and gas production has not caused widespread hydrocarbon contamination to date in groundwater used for water supply

A new USGS study reports that shale-oil and -gas production from a major production area in Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota has not caused widespread hydrocarbon contamination to date in nearby aquifer zones used for drinking-water supply.

Date published: December 1, 2020

"Legacy nitrogen" contributing to upward nitrate trends in streams

Despite the tremendous effort invested in reducing the use of nitrogen, widespread decreases in nitrate loads in US rivers and streams remain elusive—what gives? A new study from the USGS provides more evidence that the culprit is the slow release to streams of nitrogen that has accumulated in groundwater and other...

Date published: October 23, 2020

Common insecticide is more harmful to aquatic ecosystems than previously thought

The insecticide fipronil and some of the compounds it degrades to are more toxic to aquatic insects, such as mayflies and stoneflies, than previously estimated, reports a new study from the USGS Regional Stream Quality Assessment.

Date published: September 28, 2020

Surface-water nutrient and sediment mappers are now available

SPARROW mappers are interactive tools that allow users to evaluate streamflow and nutrient and sediment conditions as well as the importance of different sources of contaminants in a selected river basin. Data can be visualized at different scales using maps and interactive graphs and tables.

Date published: September 16, 2020

New Study Identifies Pesticide Mixtures in U.S. Rivers and Streams

A mix of multiple pesticides is common in many U.S. streams, reports a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey National Water Quality Program.

Date published: September 4, 2020

New USGS website provides water quality information for U.S. streams and rivers

Interested in water-quality concentrations, loads, and trends in streams and rivers across the United States? Check out a new USGS website with data from the USGS National Water Quality Network—110 stream and river sites with long-term, consistent data on water quality.

Date published: June 24, 2020

Pavement is contributing sediment to urban streams

Dirt, sand, and other particulate material on parking lots and streets is washing off into urban streams, reports a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey Regional Stream Quality Assessment. The study used novel particle tracers to determine that particles washed from pavement made up...

Date published: June 18, 2020

Updated Information on Locations of Domestic Well Use

A new USGS geonarrative illustrates where domestic (private) wells are located and how many people are using them, based on the results of a 2019 USGS study. A domestic well typically supplies water to single household. Nearly 40 million people in the United States rely on a domestic (private) well for their drinking-...

Date published: June 8, 2020

USGS fills a knowledge gap for radionuclide occurrence in groundwater

Using recently developed and sensitive laboratory methods, the USGS has documented where the radionuclides lead-210 and polonium-210 occur in principal aquifers of the U.S. used for drinking-water supply, reports a ...

Date published: May 19, 2020

A comprehensive assessment of fluoride in groundwater

Fluoride occurs commonly in groundwater used for drinking, but typically at concentrations less than the drinking-water standard for human health, reports a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey. In fact, fluoride concentrations in most drinking-water wells sampled were below the optimal concentration recommended to prevent tooth...