The Reston Groundwater Dating Laboratory

Staff and Contacts

To contact us by mail our address is:

USGS Groundwater Dating Laboratory
432 National Center room 3B353
12201 Sunrise Valley Drive
Reston, VA 20192

Main Telephone 703-648-5847

Main Fax 703-648-5832

Group Email, general info

Thank you for visiting our site! Here is a contact list for each of us and a little of what we do.

The USGS Ground Water Age Dating Group


Niel Plummer 703-648-5841
Niel is a research geochemist/hydrogeologist. He has published extensively on topics ranging from thermodynamics and kinetics of carbonate mineral reactions, development of geochemical modeling software, geochemical and isotopic studies of groundwater systems in numerous parts of the US, and studies of groundwater dating with chlorofluorocarbons, sulfur hexafluoride, tritium/helium-3, and carbon-14. Current studies are in Shenandoah National Park, the Great Valley of Virginia, the Atlantic Coastal Plain of Maryland, and the Leetown Science Center, WV. Niel has guided the age dating lab operation from it's start as one instrument measuring CFC's to what it is today. Niel retired in early 2012. However he remains available as a Scientist Emeritus at his contact information as listed.
Ed Busenberg 703-648-5726
Ed is a research geochemist / hydrologist. His research over the past 35 years has been in the areas of kinetics and thermodynamics of carbonate mineral systems. He developed the chlorofluorocabon, sulfur hexafluoride, and trifluoromethyl sulfur pentafluoride dating methods for ground waters. He also developed methods for measuring very low halocarbon concentrations (VOCs) in ground waters using electron capture detectors. His interests include measurement of dissolved atmospheric gases in ground water and modeling recharge temperatures from atmospheric gas compositions. Ed retired in early 2013. However he remains available as a Scientist Emeritus at his contact information as listed.
Jerry Casile 703-648-5873
Jerry runs the SF6 side of the lab. He redesigned the SF6 instrument which increased the sensitivity and precision of the analysis. He is working on the further development of the group's low level VOC capability for halogenated compounds. He has analyzed large numbers of CFC and low level VOC samples and participated in the development of that equipment and field sampling methods. He has participated as the lead field hydrologist in many of the large field projects conducted by the group and is an instructor in water quality field methods at the USGS national training center.
Mike Doughten 703-648-6234
Mike manages the National Research Program Eastern Branch Common Use Chemistry lab. The lab is a full service inorganic chemistry operation. Instruments in use include multiple ion chromatographs, an autotitrator (for alkalinity), ICP-OES, ICP-MS, Elemental Analyzer, Segmented Flow Analyzer and a Discreet Analyzer (for nutrient analysis). Mike has methods development experience using the ICP-MS. The Common Use Chemistry Lab is open to use for all NRP scientists and their project personnel. Mike has also participated in field activities undertaken by the Branch over the years.
Karl Haase 703-648-5818
Karl is a physical chemist with a background in atmospheric chemistry and measurement of trace gases. Karl has refined and automated the group's noble gas instrument for the measurement of Oxygen, Nitrogen, He, Ne, Ar, Kr and Xe. Karl is also studying the application of modern anthropogenic compounds as tracers of groundwater age.
Jennifer Nedzweckas 703-648-5347
Jennifer is a student working mainly in the Nitrogen / Argon Dissolved Gas Lab but is participating in the other activities of the group as well. She is preparing and shipping weighed bottle sets for field sampling, receiving and logging in samples, analyzing samples, and analyzing data.
Julian Wayland 703-648-5847
Julian runs the CFC side of the lab. He keeps the budget for the entire lab operation. He administers the USGS contract for tritium helium age dating. He has participated extensively in field work for the many projects conducted by the group over the years. Currently, he functions as the collateral duty safety officer for the National Research Program, Eastern Branch.
Peggy Widman 703-648-5347
Peggy runs the Nitrogen / Argon Dissolved Gas Lab. This includes analyzing samples for N2, Ar, CO2, CH4 and O2 and the determination of ground water recharge temperature. Peggy has developed and operates the system used to process all of the login information for all of the samples received by the group. She has also been responsible for hiring many of the fine students brought in by the group over the years and participates in field work.