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thumbnail new Brine-Contaminated Groundwater in Northeastern Montana –USGS, in cooperation with the Fort Peck Tribe, reports on the extent and movement of contamination in the East Poplar oil field area in northeastern Montana. The contamination in shallow groundwater and the Poplar River is brine, which is saltier than seawater and is a byproduct as part of the process of extracting crude oil in the East Poplar oil field. Findings show that brine contaminated groundwater is generally moving towards the southwest, eventually discharging into the Missouri River. For more than half a century, millions of gallons of brine have been produced along with oil from the East Poplar oil field on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation. Until recently, the waste brine was placed in pits and ponds or injected into the ground through deep disposal wells and has made its way to the shallow groundwater and the Poplar River.  Currently, the only approved method of brine disposal is to inject it deep into the ground. When the brine mixes with the groundwater in the area, it often makes the water unsuitable for domestic purposes. Currently, treated water from the Missouri River about 20 miles upstream of the city of Poplar is piped to the city and nearby residents. This information is used by the Fort Peck Tribes to direct future natural resource conservation efforts. (Report; Press Release)


thumbnail new Saltwater Intrusion in the Biscayne Aquifer, Florida –USGS, in cooperation with Miami-Dade County, have depicted saltwater intrusion in the Biscayne aquifer, which will help water managers protect the primary drinking water source for the county’s roughly 2.5 million residents. The new study, which uses information gathered through 2011, found that saltwater had intruded about 460 square miles of the mainland part of the county. The new report provides an updated understanding of the extent of saltwater in the aquifer, describing where saltwater has further intruded since last being mapped in 1995, where it has been pushed back toward the ocean and where it’s leaking from canals. Saltwater intrusion began in the area early in the 20th century when canals were dredged to drain the Everglades. As water levels in the Biscayne aquifer declined, saltwater from the ocean flowed inland along its base. (Press Release)


thumbnail new Groundwater Study Assesses Potential for Contamination of Drinking-Water Aquifers in Los Angeles, California –USGS, in cooperation with the Water Replenishment District of Southern California, reported that contaminated groundwater found at shallow depths in the northeastern portion of the Central Groundwater Basin in southern California could migrate to greater depths where many drinking water supply wells are located. Over two million residents get approximately 60 percent of their drinking water supply from these deeper aquifers. There are multiple sites in the northeast portion of the basin where shallow groundwater contamination is already being investigated and remediated under the oversight of several federal and state regulatory agencies. The results of this study will allow the Water Replenishment District to anticipate possible future contaminant migration and to plan accordingly to protect uncontaminated areas. Additionally, regulatory agencies can use the study results to inform future monitoring and cleanup actions for contaminated sites located in the Central Groundwater Basin. (Press Release; Report)


thumbnail Stream Quality in Johnson County, Kansas –USGS, in cooperation with Johnson County Stormwater Management Program, assessed stream quality on the basis of land use, hydrology, stream-water and streambed-sediment chemistry, riparian and in-stream habitat, and periphyton and macroinvertebrate community data collected from 22 sites during 2002 through 2010. Stream conditions at the end of the study period were evaluated and compared to previous years; and stream biological communities and physical and chemical conditions are characterized and described relative to Kansas Department of Health and Environment impairment categories and water-quality standards. The information is thereby useful for improving water-quality management programs, documenting changing conditions with time, and evaluating compliance with water-quality standards, total maximum daily loads (TMDLs), National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit conditions, and other established guidelines and goals. (Report)


thumbnail Colorado Piceance Basin Water-Quality Reports Now Available –More than 50 years of water-quality data in the Piceance Basin in western Colorado are now available through voluntary efforts between the USGS and more than 25 energy producers and local, state, and federal agencies. The need for this baseline water-resources assessment was identified by energy producers and local governments to address concerns regarding potential changes to surface-water and groundwater resources as large-scale energy development and population growth occur in the Piceance Basin. Data from 1,545 wells collected from1946 through 2009 were compiled, evaluated, and compared with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) drinking-water standards and are published in a USGS groundwater quality report.  Additionally, 347 surface-water sites were compared to EPA drinking-water and Colorado State standards and are published in a separate surface-water report.  The resulting data repository is the most comprehensive collection of Piceance Basin water-quality sampling information available in a single location. (Press release)


thumbnail Groundwater Quality Data Available for San Francisco, Madeira County, and the desert region of southern California –USGS, in cooperation with the California State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) Groundwater Ambient Monitoring and Assessment Program’s Priority Basin Project (PBP), released groundwater quality data in 3 basins. The USGS is monitoring and assessing water quality in 120 priority groundwater basins across California over a 10-year period. Selected findings for the 3 basins show that

  • Barium and nitrate were detected at high concentrations in 5 percent of untreated groundwater used for public-water supply in the San Francisco Bay region, while human-made organic chemical constituents were found at high concentrations in less than 1 percent. Detections were less prevalent than monitored elsewhere in California (Press release; Fact Sheet)
  • Arsenic, uranium, fumigants and nitrate were detected at high concentrations in untreated groundwater at depths in the aquifer system typically used for public water supply in the Madera County region of California’s San Joaquin Valley (Press release; Report; Fact Sheet)
  • Inorganic elements - arsenic, boron, fluoride, and five other inorganic elements - were detected at high concentrations in 35 percent of untreated groundwater used for public water supply in the desert region of southern California. In contrast, human-made organic chemical constituents and nitrate were found at high concentrations in less than 1 percent of the desert region’s aquifers (Press release; Report)


thumbnail Continuous Water Quality Available for Mattawoman Creek, Maryland –USGS, in cooperation with the Charles County Department of Planning and Growth Management, Maryland Department of the Environment, and Maryland Geological Survey, assessed discrete and continuous water-quality monitoring data for Mattawoman Creek in Charles County, Maryland, 2000–11. Mattawoman Creek is a fourth-order Maryland tributary to the tidal freshwater Potomac River; the creek’s watershed is experiencing development pressure due to its proximity to Washington, D.C. Data were analyzed for the purpose of describing ambient water quality, identifying potential contaminant sources, and quantifying nutrient and sediment loads to the tidal freshwater Mattawoman estuary. (Report)


thumbnail Water Quality Affects Aquatic Health in Urban Streams in Kansas City and Independence, Missouri –USGS, in cooperation with the City of Independence, Missouri Water Pollution Control Department, used macroinvertebrate populations as an indicator of stream health in downstream areas of the Blue River and Little Blue River basins, which are both affected by urban development. Differences were noted in aquatic-life status because of effects of stormwater, wastewater discharges, and upstream reservoirs. (Technical announcement; Report)


thumbnail Statewide Assessment of Groundwater Quality in West Virginia –USGS, in cooperation with the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Water and Waste Management, developed the most comprehensive assessment of West Virginia groundwater quality to date. The study indicates the water quality of West Virginia's groundwater is generally good; in the majority of cases raw-water samples met primary drinking water-criteria. However, some constituents, notably iron and manganese, exceeded the secondary drinking criteria in more than half the samples. Approximately 42 percent of all West Virginians rely on groundwater for their domestic water supply. However, prior to 2008, the quality of the West Virginia's groundwater resource was largely unknown. USGS sampled 300 wells, of which 80 percent were public-supply wells, over a 10-year period, 1999-2008. All samples were analyzed for field measurements (water temperature, pH, specific conductance, and dissolved oxygen), major ions, trace elements, nutrients, volatile organic compounds, fecal indicator bacteria, and radon-222. Sub-sets of samples were analyzed for pesticides or semi-volatile organic compounds; site selection was based on local land use. (Full report)


thumbnail Water Quality Trends in New Jersey Streams –USGS, in cooperation with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, assessed geographic variations and trends in dissolved solids, selected nutrients, and chloride from 1998-2009 at 371 surface-water sites throughout New Jersey. In general, median concentrations increased, except for total phosphorus, which varied significantly but in an inconsistent pattern during water years 1998–2009. The amount of water flowing in the stream can affect water quality; extreme values of water-quality constituents generally followed inverse patterns of streamflow. (Full report)


thumbnail Water-quality super station in Florence, Illinois –A "multi-parameter, water-quality super station" has been recently implemented on the Illinois River at Florence, Illinois in cooperation with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The station measures river stage, water temperature, pH, conductivity, dissolved oxygen, turbidity, nitrate, suspended solids, backscatter for sediment, sediment size and quantity, and phosphate. Much of the data are in real time; access data at: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/il/nwis/uv/?site_no=05586300&PARAmeter_cd=00400,00095,00010,00300,99133 (Contact: Paul Terrio, pjterrio@usgs.gov, (217) 328-9736 and Gary Johnson, gjohnson@usgs.gov, (217) 328-9720)


thumbnail Ambient groundwater across New York –USGS, in cooperation with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, released a report on groundwater quality in the Eastern Lake Ontario Basin (part of a series of reports supported by New York’s statewide groundwater ambient monitoring program).


thumbnail Groundwater resources in selected parishes in Louisiana –USGS, in cooperation with the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, published a series of fact sheets on water resources in parishes across Louisiana. The most recent publication, written for the non-technical audience, describes water resources in Caddo Parish, Louisiana, including information on groundwater and surface-water availability, quality, development, use, and trends.


thumbnail Groundwater quality in the Virginia Coastal Plain aquifers –USGS, in cooperation with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission, released a regional perspective of the hydrogeology of the Virginia Coastal Plain, which incorporated updated information on groundwater quality in the area. Groundwater is a heavily used water-supply resource throughout the study area, and its suitability for various uses is largely determined by its chemical quality.


thumbnail Roadside dry wells and groundwater quality on the Island of Hawaii –USGS, in cooperation with the County of Hawai‘i Department of Public Works, used semi-generic numerical models of groundwater flow and contaminant transport to assess the potential effect of dry wells on groundwater quality on the Island of Hawaii. (Full report)


thumbnail Groundwater Quality Data in the Northern Coast Ranges, California –USGS, in cooperation with the California State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) Groundwater Ambient Monitoring and Assessment Program’s Priority Basin Project (PBP), released groundwater quality data in a 633-square mile area in the Northern Coast Ranges in Napa, Lake, Mendocino, Glenn, Humboldt, and Del Norte Counties, California. In total, 239 natural and man-made compounds and 12 field groundwater-quality indicators were measured. This study represents the thirtieth study area in the State of California sampled as part of the Program’s Priority Basin Project.


thumbnail Water-quality monitoring in Baltimore, Maryland – USGS, in cooperation with the City of Baltimore, Baltimore County, and Carroll County, Maryland, released a retrospective review of monitoring data from 1981 through 2007 to help identify possible improvements in monitoring for the Baltimore Reservoir system, including Loch Raven, Liberty, and Prettyboy Reservoirs that serve the City of Baltimore, Maryland, and parts of five surrounding counties. Management of the watershed conditions for each reservoir is a shared responsibility by agreement among City, County, and State jurisdictions. The most recent (2005) Baltimore Reservoir Watershed Management Agreement (RWMA) called for continued and improved water-quality monitoring in the reservoirs and selected watershed tributaries.

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