National Research Program (NRP)
The Reston Biogeochemical Processes in Groundwater Laboratory (RBPGL) conducts long-term investigations on the fate and geochemical effects of organic contaminants in subsurface environments. This research directly aligns with the objectives of the USGS Toxics Substances Hydrology Program and the overall USGS mission of providing earth science information on toxic substances in the Nation’s surface water and groundwater. Our research products provide a basis for water resources managers to make science-based decisions when developing effective remediation strategies and to preventing further contamination.
The Geomorphology and Sediment Transport Laboratory (GSTL) is a new U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) facility located in Golden, Colorado on the eastern side of North Table Mountain. The USGS has a long and distinguished record of scientific research on flow and sediment transport in rivers; this new lab represents a continued commitment to basic and applied research in this important area. Work at GSTL falls into three primary categories: basic research on fluid and sediment-transport mechanics governing the morphodynamics of rivers; applied research dealing with specific issues in American rivers; and software development, verification and dissemination for models of physical processes in rivers. Most GSTL projects comprise field, laboratory, and computational components.
The Reston Groundwater Dating Laboratory provides analytical services for Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), sulfur hexafluoride, and other dissolved gases including N2, Ar, CO2, CH4, O2 and total dissolved He. The lab also administers the USGS contract for tritium/helium-3 ground water dating and noble gas analysis. The data generated by the Groundwater Dating Laboratory are being used throughout the USGS in hydrologic studies to trace the flow of young water and to determine the time elapsed since recharge. The lab's staff and leaders work together in research to refine the use of ground water dating techniques and to develop new ground water dating methods. The laboratory is located in the USGS Headquarters in Reston, Virginia.
The Menlo Park Tritium Laboratory provides tritium analysis for customers within the United States Geological Survey. Samples are accepted as raw unfiltered water, and are prepared for analysis through distillation and electrolytic enrichment. Tritium in the concentrated samples is then measured using liquid scintillation counters.
The Reston Microbiology Laboratory (RML) investigates 1) the impact of microorganisms on organic and inorganic contaminants, 2) microbial affects on energy production, such as microbial enhanced coal bed methane production or mitigating contaminants due to unconventional oil and gas production; and 3) the unseen biodiversity in natural systems and how this biodiversity impacts biogeochemical cycles.
The Reston Stable Isotope Laboratory (RSIL) produces hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and sulfur stable isotope ratio analyses of water, rock, and biological samples for the operational and research components of the U.S. Geological Survey, other Bureaus of the Department of the Interior, other federal agencies, state agencies, county agencies, and organizations outside the United States. The RSIL provides isotopic calibrations services and materials worldwide. Members of the RSIL also conduct research on the use of isotope-ratio measurements in studies of water resources and environmental quality.