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National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Program

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Trace Elements National Synthesis Project

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National analysis of trace elements in groundwater, streams, stream and reservoir sediment, and fish and clam tissue

Trace elements in the news


 Mercury contamination is
widespread globally, originating from natural and human-related
sources, including air transport from coal combustion, waste
incineration, and mining.


Trace elements are inorganic chemicals usually occuring in small amounts in nature. Water managers and scientists across the US rate trace elements among the highest-priority issues for the National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) program. NAWQA is studying 31 metals, metalloids, and radionuclides with the goal of understanding their distribution and release by human and natural influences.


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