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Products > Water Quality and Drinking Water > Trace Elements and Radionuclides

All Trace Elements and Radionuclides Products


thumbnail new Mercury in the Boise River, Idaho –USGS, in cooperation with the City of Boise, published a study that documents low concentrations of mercury in water samples and high concentrations in two fish species already under Idaho state consumption advisories. This is the first year of a six-year watershed-based mercury monitoring program required in wastewater discharge permits for the City of Boise and other municipalities. City and USGS scientists will collect water and fish-tissue samples from the Boise River near Middleton again this fall. Sampling will rotate between one site and all six sites each year through 2018. (Press Release; Report)


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 Elevated Arsenic in Groundwater in Pennsylvania –USGS, in cooperation with the Pennsylvania Departments of Health and Environmental Protection, developed maps depicting areas in the state most likely to have elevated levels of arsenic in groundwater. The research is not intended to predict arsenic levels for individual wells; its purpose is to predict the probability of elevated levels of arsenic in groundwater in different aquifers. Study results and associated probability maps provide water-resource managers and health officials with useful data as they consider management actions in areas where groundwater is most likely to contain elevated levels of arsenic. (Press release; Report and maps)


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 Arsenic in Groundwater from Bedrock Aquifers in New Hampshire –USGS, in cooperation with the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services and the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, found that nearly 40 percent of New Hampshire's bedrock groundwater likely contains at least low levels of naturally occurring arsenic. Groundwater supplies likely to have high arsenic levels can be found in scattered locations throughout the state, but are more frequent in densely populated Merrimack, Rockingham, Stafford, and Hillsborough counties in the southeast (Report and maps). Arsenic is naturally occurring in the bedrock of New Hampshire and levels are largely controlled by bedrock type and by fractures, but are also associated with other factors including groundwater chemistry, hydrology, topography, land use and demographics. (Technical Announcement)


thumbnail Radioactive constituents assessed in groundwater in southwestern Montana –USGS, in cooperation with Jefferson County, sampled groundwater in southwestern Montana for uranium and other radioactive constituents (Preliminary data). Most of the wells included in the study provide water for human consumption. The objectives of the study were to evaluate the occurrence and concentration of naturally occurring radioactive constituents and the geologic settings and conditions in which elevated concentrations occur. The USGS will publish a report describing methods and results later in 2012.


thumbnail Arsenic concentrations in domestic wells, mapped for towns, throughout Maine –A USGS study, conducted in collaboration with the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP), mapped the statewide spatial occurrence (by town) of elevated arsenic levels in domestic wells. The study identifies areas of the State that may be targeted by the Maine CDCP for increased efforts to promote well-water testing. (Press release, August 2010)


thumbnail Arsenic and uranium in private wells in East-Central Massachusetts –USGS, in cooperation with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, released a report on arsenic and uranium in private wells in bedrock of East-Central Massachusetts. Probabilities for exceeding levels for health protection can be accessed on the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection website ( Press release, March 2011)

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