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Products > Water Quality and Drinking Water > Sediment

All Sediment Products


thumbnail Assessing Metals and PAHs in Urban Sediment in Milwaukee and Madison Wisconsin –USGS, in cooperation with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, measured concentrations of select metals and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) sand and silt particles that make up urban sediment. Metals were found at high, but not toxic, levels; high levels of PAHs were found in the majority of sand and silt samples. All sources of sediment showed some level of toxic potential with stormwater bed sediment the highest followed by stormwater suspended, street dirt, and streambed. Many treatment structures are designed to capture coarse sediment but do not work well to similarly capture the finer particles, such as in stormwater. (Press release; Report)


thumbnail Sediment Transport in Northeast Kansas –USGS, in cooperation with the Kansas Water Office, investigated sediment transport to and from three small impoundments (average surface area of 0.1 to 0.8 square miles) in northeast Kansas during March 2009 through September 2011. Streamgages and continuous turbidity sensors were operated upstream and downstream from Atchison County, Banner Creek, and Centralia Lakes to study the effect of varied watershed characteristics and agricultural practices on sediment transport in small watersheds in northeast Kansas. (Report)


thumbnail Water Quality in the Fayetteville Shale Gas-Production Area, North-Central Arkansas –USGS, in cooperation with the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission, Arkansas Oil and Gas Commission, Duke University, Faulkner County, Shirley Community Development Corporation, and the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, examined water quality in 127 shallow domestic wells in the Fayetteville Shale natural gas production area of Arkansas and found no groundwater contamination associated with gas production. Scientists analyzed water-quality data from samples taken in Van Buren and Faulkner counties in 2011, focusing on chloride concentrations from 127 wells and methane concentrations and carbon isotope ratios from a subsample of 51 wells. Chloride is a naturally occurring ion that is found at elevated levels in waters associated with gas production. Chloride moves easily through groundwater without reacting with other ions or compounds in solution, which thereby makes it a good indicator of whether chemicals used during hydraulic fracturing are reaching groundwater. In this case, the chloride concentrations from this study were not higher than samples taken from nearby areas from 1951 through 1983. Methane is the primary component of natural gas, but also can be found naturally in shallow shale formations in the Fayetteville Shale area that are used as sources of water for domestic supplies. What methane was found in the water, taken from domestic wells, was either naturally occurring, or could not be attributed to natural gas production activities. (Full report; Press release)


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 River Response to Sedimentation Downstream of Mount Rainier, Washington –USGS, in cooperation with Pierce County Public Works and Utilities and King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks, studied the geomorphology of rivers draining Mount Rainier, Washington. The study help to identify sources of sediment to the river network; important processes in the sediment delivery system; current sediment loads in rivers draining Mount Rainier; trends in streamflow or sediment load since the early 20th century; and how rates of sedimentation might continue into the future using published climate-change scenarios. (Full report)


thumbnail Increased Sediment and Nutrient Delivery to Chesapeake Bay as Susquehanna Reservoirs New Sediment Capacity –USGS compared storm-delivery of sediments and nutrients from the Susquehanna River over the past 34 years. Findings showed that the Susquehanna River delivered more sediment and phosphorus to the Chesapeake Bay in 2011 than in any year since 1978, when monitoring of this delivery began. The large sediment and phosphorus inputs resulted largely from Tropical Storm Lee in September 2011, in combination with accumulations of sediment over time in three large Susquehanna reservoirs: Safe Harbor Dam and Holtwood Dam in Pennsylvania and Conowingo Dam in Maryland. Sediment accumulations in the reservoirs have increased the potential for sediment delivery during any given storm event, which can help to counteract some of the extensive basin-wide efforts—such as through agricultural best management practices, wastewater-treatment plant upgrades, stormwater management, and other actions—to reduce inputs of sediments and nutrients reaching the Bay from its many tributaries. (Full report; Virginia Water Central News article)


thumbnail Sediment in Puget Sound Rivers, Washington –USGS studies show that roughly enough sediment to fill a football field to the height of six Space Needles is delivered into the Puget Sound each year through a complex delivery network of rivers. Paradoxically, river sediment is both a benefit and a threat to ecosystems and people. Adequate amounts of sediment are needed for beaches, deltas, and other coastal habitats that aquatic species need, including those on which people depend. But excessive amounts of sediment can stress aquatic species by transporting contaminants or burying vegetation. Sedimentation within rivers can also increase flood risk. (USGS Fact Sheet; Technical announcement)


thumbnail Sediment and nutrients in agricultural runoff in southern Wisconsin –A cooperative study between USGS, the University of Wisconsin (UW)-Madison Discovery Farms Program, and the UW-Platteville Pioneer Farm program was developed to identify typical ranges and magnitudes, temporal distributions, and principal factors affecting concentrations and yields of sediment, nutrients, and other selected constituents in runoff from agricultural fields. Analysis of runoff, concentration, and yield data on annual, monthly, and seasonal time scales, when combined with precipitation, soil moisture, soil temperature, and on-farm field-activity information, revealed conditions in which runoff was most likely. The analysis also revealed the effects that field conditions and the timing of field-management activities-most notably, manure applications and tillage--had on the quantity and quality of surface runoff from agricultural fields.


thumbnail Sediment and nutrient loadings from riverine systems into Texas estuaries and bays –USGS, in cooperation with the Texas Water Development Board, evaluated the variability of sediment and nutrient loads in the lower reaches of the Trinity River during a variety of hydrologic conditions. Discharge, sediment concentration and sand/fine break, and nutrient concentration data collected at the Trinity River at Wallisville, Texas, were used to gain a better understanding of the hydrologic and water-quality characteristics for the Galveston Bay coastal ecosystem. (Fact Sheet, Scientific Investigations Report)

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